EPA unveiling new pesticide labels to help protect bees | News
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

EPA unveiling new pesticide labels to help protect bees

Posted by on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 3:26 PM

This post has been updated to include a statement by the Pesticide Action Network.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is requiring new warning labels on a type of pesticide known as neonicotinoid, thought to be one cause of massive bee die-offs.

As INDY Week reported last week, dozens of studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals have confirmed a strong link between the usage of neonicotinoids and bee health.

The new labels affects products containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

Clothianidin and imidacloprid are made by Bayer CropScience, which has its American headquarters in Research Triangle Park. A third, thiamethoxam, is made by Syngenta, which conducts biotech seed research at its RTP office. Dinotefuran is sold by Mitsui Chemicals, a Japanese company.

Read the statement from PAN and the EPA press release below:

EPA: In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.

“Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

The new labels will have a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. Today’s announcement affects products containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The EPA will work with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) safety standard.

In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health, showing scientific consensus that there are a complex set of stressors associated with honey bee declines, including loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.

The agency continues to work with beekeepers, growers, pesticide applicators, pesticide and seed companies, and federal and state agencies to reduce pesticide drift dust and advance best management practices. The EPA recently released new enforcement guidance to federal, state and tribal enforcement officials to enhance investigations of beekill incidents.

More on the EPA’s label changes and pollinator protection efforts: www.epa.gov/opp00001/ecosystem/pollinator/index.html

PAN: "While it's good to see movement from the EPA, the new labels do little to address the problem of bee declines. EPA's labels fail to acknowledge the unique properties of systemic, persistent neonicotinoid pesticides and are practically unenforceable.

As U.S. agriculture faces one of the worst years on record for honey bee declines, EPA's efforts will only make matters worse by giving a false sense of acceptability to the use of these products that will result in greater harms to bees. EPA should instead act on the growing body of scientific evidence and further restrict the use of neonicotinoids, especially as seed treatments."

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