CREATE A BUZZ: Tell the Government What You Think About the Bees and the Pesticides that Kill Them
As we reported late last month, the EPA declined to ban CLOTHIANIDIN, one of the compounds most responsible for the bee deaths that have plagued U.S. farmers and gardeners for the last six years. Now the EPA has opened up a public comment period for 60 days; this is the time to LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK:
Here are a few talking points (from Beyond Pesticides, Panna.org and SafeLawns):
1) The EPA’s own scientists originally assessed clothianidin as “highly toxic to honey bees” back in 2003.
2) The legal petition filed in March to ban clothianidin is supported by more than one million citizen-petitions, collected from people across the country, demanding the ban of clothianidin in particular – because of its lethal impact on honey bees.
3) Honey bees are responsible for pollinating at least a third of the nation’s food supply.
4) Thousands of bee farmers have already been bankrupted by the death of their bees in the last six years.
5) A substantial body of scientific evidence has confirmed that the use of clothianidin, an environmentally persistent poison, presents substantial risks to honey bees and other insects.
6) One of the American government’s lead bee scientists has confirmed that synthetic nicotines, of which clothianidin is a member, are harmful to bees even at microscopic doses which were originally presumed to be safe for bees.
7) Clothianidin was registered illegally, with inadequate paperwork. Yet the EPA granted a “conditional,” or temporary, registration to clothianidin in 2003, without obtaining a legally required field study, to prove that the pesticide would have no “unreasonable adverse effects” on bees and pollinators. Conditional registration was only granted on the condition that such an acceptable field study would be submitted later; but this crucial requirement was never met.
8) Beekeepers estimate the economic value of their operations at $50 billion, based on retail value of food and crops pollinated by bees. Bees pollinate many high-value crops, including: pumpkins, cherries, cranberries, almonds, apples, watermelons, and blueberries.
9) According to a recent United Nations report on the global decline of pollinator populations, “honeybees are the most economically important pollinators in the world.”
10) More than 4 million bee colonies have died in America since 2006 and the figure is close to 10 million bee colonies worldwide — overwhelmingly in countries where clothianidin and other neonicotinoid pesticides are widely used.
BACKGROUND: Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides in which the insecticide is most typically applied as a seed-coating at planting, but the substances are also used in sprays and granular lawn chemicals to kill grubs and other insects; the poison is taken up inside the growing plant, perfusing the entire structure of leaves, stem, flower and fruit; it is also expressed in the pollen and nectar. Bees are poisoned as they harvest the pollen and nectar to take back to the hive.