Friday, August 29, 2008

ENVIRONMENTALISTS BELIEVE EPA IS HIDING KEY INFO ON BEE PROBLEM

Organic Consumers - The Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a lawsuit to uncover information that the US government is withholding about the risks posed by pesticides to honey bees. NRDC legal experts and a leading bee researcher are convinced that the US Environmental Protection Agency has evidence of connections between pesticides and the mysterious honey bee die-offs reported across the country. The phenomenon has come to be called "colony collapse disorder," or CCD, and it is already proving to have disastrous consequences for American agriculture and the $15 billion worth of crops pollinated by bees every year.

EPA has failed to respond to NRDC's Freedom of Information Act request for agency records concerning the toxicity of pesticides to bees, forcing the legal action.

In 2003, EPA granted a registration to a new pesticide manufactured by Bayer Crop Science under the condition that Bayer submit studies about its product's impact on bees. EPA has refused to disclose the results of these studies, or if the studies have even been submitted. The pesticide in question, clothianidin, recently was banned in Germany due to concerns about its impact on bees. A similar insecticide was banned in France for the same reason a couple of years before. In the United States, these chemicals still are in use despite a growing consensus among bee specialists that pesticides, including clothianidin and its chemical cousins, may contribute to CCD.

In the past two years, some American beekeepers have reported unexplained losses of 30-90% of the bees in their hives. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops grown in America. USDA also claims that one out of every three mouthfuls of food in the typical American diet has a connection to bee pollination.