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We Have Not Learned About The Birds and the Bees

Posted by admin on January 13, 2011 in Uncategorized with No Comments

I am passing on a bulletin I received from Food Democracy concerning a pesticide that is being linked to the mysterious death of bees and other pollinators. Without them we will have no flowers in our gardens and not be able to obtain food that depends on pollinators.

“For the past several years scientists have been desperately searching for an answer to the mysterious collapse of bee populations worldwide. Known as “Colony Collapse Disorder”, massive bee die-offs around the globe have alarmed scientists as commercial beekeepers have suddenly found empty hives in record numbers, with as much as 30% of the commercial honey bee population in the U.S. nearly wiped out since 2006.1

As a vital link in our food chain, bees are responsible for pollinating one out of every three of the foods that we eat, their continued loss could be a catastrophic loss.

While colony collapse is likely caused by a combination of factors, many scientists believe that sublethal pesticide exposures are a critical factor – and one class of pesticides in particular is a suspected culprit: neonicotinoids.2

Last month, leaked documents from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that one commonly used neonicotinoid pesticide has been on the market for years without safety testing.

According to the damning documents, the agency ignored warnings from its own scientists during the approval process for Bayer CropScience’s neonicotinoid pesticide, clothianidin (product name “Poncho”), relying on shoddy corporate science provided by Bayer instead.3

Bayer’s pesticide has been banned in 4 European countries beginning in 2008 due to its high toxicity to bees and potential link to mass bee die-offs.5 Rather than heed their own scientists or the precautions taken in Europe, EPA bureaucrats approved the toxic pesticide based on a fatally flawed study provided by Bayer.

Beekeepers across the U.S. are furious to learn that one of the potential links behind the loss of their livelihood, and our food supply, boils down to a government agency looking out for corporate profits over so

In addition to corn, Bayer’s clothiniadin is also used on soy, wheat, canola, sugarbeets and sunflower seeds, among the most widely planted crops in the U.S., and it is a “systemic” pesticide. This means that it’s absorbed into the plant material and “expressed” through pollen and nectar – the main source of food for bees.

The leaked EPA memo, from the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention dated November 2nd of last year, reveals that the original study submitted by Bayer CropScience to the EPA was so deeply flawed that it failed to meet agency guidelines. The study was conducted on the wrong crop, canola, which is not as widely planted in the U.S. as corn. In addition, the study took place on test plots of only 2 acres each and since bees forage at least 2 miles from the hive and beekeepers and EPA scientists believe it’s unlikely they ingested much of the actual treated crop, thus invalidating the study and failing to prove whether or not Bayer’s clothianidin is lethal to bees.6

Despite finding the original study invalid for the most recent approval process of clothianidin, for use on cotton and mustard seeds, the EPA has refused to pull Bayer’s toxic pesticide, which the agency granted full registration, or permanent approval, on April 22 of 2010.

Farmers and beekeepers across the country are up in arms over the serious harm that has come to their livelihoods as a result of the EPA’s failure to put sound science over corporate profits.

It’s time for the EPA to pull Bayer’s bee-keeping pesticide that has already been banned in Germany, Italy, France and Slovenia. We need to put unprecedented public pressure on this government agency to make sure they use their emergency powers to pull this toxic chemical from our fields.”

It has been more than 50 years since Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. She mentioned the class of pesticides named in this bulletin, neonicotinoids. Washington did not listen then and apparently nothing had changed in 2010, or now.

For more information go to FoodDemocracynow.org.

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