EPA Curbs Use of 12 Bee-Harming Pesticides

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Neonicotinoids shown to have harmful impacts on wild bees Ban on dozen products could foreshadow a larger fight to come The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled registration of a dozen pesticides, from a class of chemicals known to harm bees. The cancellations are effective as of May 20 for 12 neonicotinoid-based products produced by Syngenta, Valent, and Bayer. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act requires pesticides sold or distributed in the U.S. to be registered by the EPA. Under a December settlement agreement linked to an Endangered Species Act challenge by environmental groups, the companies voluntarily agreed to petition EPA to cancel 12 out of 59 products containing the active ingredients clothianidin and thiamethoxam. Developed as an alternative to organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, neonicotinoids are chemically related to nicotine, and attack the nervous system of insects. Unlike traditional pesticides, “neonics” are also systemic, meaning that when taken up by the root system, the entire plant becomes toxic to insects. “Today’s cancellation of these neonicotinoid pesticides is a hard-won battle and landmark step in the right direction,” said George Kimbrell, legal director at the Center for Food Safety, which litigated the case and was a party to the settlement […]

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