The following article is posted with permission from Beyond Pesticide.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to register a new insecticide, sulfoxaflor, which the agency has classified as “very highly toxic” to honey bees. Despite efforts underway in Europe to protect bee populations, and continued warnings from beekeepers, EPA is poised to allow another chemical toxic to bees into the environment without proper field studies evaluating long-term effects to bee colonies and with label statements that are impractical and unenforceable. With continuing reports of bee deaths, would sulfoxaflor be yet another bee disaster waiting to happen?
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Similar to the neonicotinoid clothianidin, which is linked to bee decline and was conditionally registered by EPA without pertinent studies on the hazards to honey bees, the agency is once again poised to register a chemical known to be highly toxic to honey bees, without relevant field studies assessing colony health and the magnitude of residue exposures. Honey bees can be exposed to sulfoxaflor via nectar and pollen with estimated residues exceeding levels of concern. Effects in honey bees will be similar to those observed with neonicotinoids, including abnormal flight and olfactory behavior, and death.
In spite of sulfoxaflor’s many similarities with neonicotinoids (some say it’s a new generation of neonicotinoid), EPA turns a blind eye to taking the precautionary approach. It is irresponsible for EPA to repeat the missteps of conditional registration with another chemical known to be hazardous to bees. The time is now to say enough is enough and demand EPA protect honey bees and other pollinators.
To the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
I am writing to express concern regarding the proposed conditional registration of the new pesticide active ingredient, sulfoxaflor. This chemical is highly toxic to honey bees and its use will compound the already growing problem of bee decline. There are many aspects of EPA’s risk assessment for sulfoxaflor that I find troubling and which I believe should disqualify this chemical from being granted conditional registration.
Sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees according to EPA, and there are still outstanding ecological data regarding honey bees, including field studies for assessing colony heath. Given the global phenomenon of bee population decline and the recent precautions taken in the European Union to protect bee health with the pending suspension of certain pesticides known to elicit adverse effects in bees, it is irresponsible that the agency would allow yet another chemical with a high potential to be hazardous to bee health into the environment, with unknown risks.
With continuing reports of bee deaths, I am concerned that sulfoxaflor may create yet another bee calamity. I urge the agency to protect honeybees and reject the pending registration for sulfoxaflor.
Read the full article on Beyond Pesticide’sDaily News Blog.