Save the Bees & Birds: Don't Let the EPA Approve Another Toxic Insecticide
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is weighing approval of a new pesticide, sulfoxaflor, which the EPA itself admits is “very highly toxic” to honeybees. The EPA previously approved sulfoxaflor, brought to us by Dow Chemical Co., for use on cotton. The agency is now poised to approve the pesticide for wider use.
Please sign the petition below asking the EPA to reject Dow's sulfoxaflor and to withdraw the permission it granted for sulfoxaflor to be used on cotton through 2015.
Sulfoxaflor is considered by some to be a fourth-generation neonicotinoid, the class of insecticides implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder because of the damage they do to bees' brains and immune systems. Even though sulfoxaflor has not technically been classified as a neonicotinoid, it elicits similar neurological responses in honeybees, leading to its description as a new generation neonicotinoid.
On April 29, Europe passed the world's first continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides linked to bee deaths, including several neonicotinoids. Yet here in the U.S., the EPA wants to approve sulfoxaflor, a pesticide that is equally, if not more, toxic to bees.
Beekeepers warn that if the EPA approves sulfoxaflor, commercial beekeeping will be extinct by 2018. If the bees disappear, so will crops, such as almonds and broccoli, that are entirely reliant upon pollination by commercial beekeepers. Some beekeepers say that the addition of sulfoxaflor to the nearly 300 neonicotinoid products already on the market in California alone will mean the end of commercial beekeeping.
Our rivers and streams are already polluted by Bayer's bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid at levels above EPA toxicity guidelines. Yet in 2012, the EPA ignored known risks of adding to this toxic soup and issued an emergency approval of sulfoxaflor for cotton through 2015. This alarmed beekeepers, of course, but also bird lovers. A scientific review conducted by the American Bird Conservancy reveals that a single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird.
Among the companies that make neonicotinoid insecticides are Bayer (imidacloprid and clothianidin), Dow (sulfoxaflor) and Syngenta (thiamethoxam). Monsanto coats its Bt corn and cotton, its RoundUp Ready soy and canola and other genetically engineered seeds with neonicotinoids. At least 143 million of the 442 million acres - nearly one-third - of U.S. cropland is planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds.
The Managed Pollinator Coordinated Agriculture Program (CAP) at Purdue University explains that "the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments over hundreds of millions of acres annually, coupled with their extremely high toxicity to honeybees, and their persistence in plants, including nectar and pollen that bees eat, combine to create an environment where it is very difficult for bees to avoid exposure to these highly toxic chemicals."
CAP researchers Greg Hunt and Christian Krupke have first-hand experience investigating real-life examples of Colony Collapse Disorder: "In the spring of 2010," they write, "we became aware of it when we saw dead bees in front of most of the Purdue bee hives during the week that corn was being planted nearby. Conditions were hot (85°F), dry and windy, and clouds of dust were kicked up by the planters – a common sight throughout the Midwest in early spring. We tested bees that were dying in front of hives near agricultural fields and also healthy hives. The dead bees had clothianidin and several other seed treatment chemicals in or on their bodies."
It’s time to stop the EPA from approving sulfoxaflor, another clothianidin-like neonicotinoid bee-killing pesticide. Please sign the petition today.