Leaked Memo Shows EPA Ignored Own Scientists to OK Bee-Toxic Pesticide

"An internal EPA memo released [Dec. 8] confirms that the very agency charged with protecting the environment is ignoring the warnings of its own scientists about clothianidin, a pesticide from which Bayer racked up ... about $262 million in sales in 2009.

Clothianidin has been widely used on corn, the largest U.S. crop, since 2003. Suppliers sell seeds pre-treated with it. Like other members of the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, clothianidin gets 'taken up by a plant's vascular system and expressed through pollen and nectar,' according to Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), which leaked the document along with Beyond Pesticides. That effect makes it highly toxic to a crop's pests -- and also harmful to pollen-hoarding honeybees, which have experienced mysterious annual massive die-offs (known as 'colony collapse disorder') here in the United States at least since 2006."

Tom Philpott reports for Grist December 10, 2010.


"Timeline of a Bee Massacre: EPA Still Allowing Hive-Killing Pesticide" (Fast Company)

"Beekeepers Suggest Pesticide Is Destroying Insect Colonies" (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

"Leaked Memo Shows EPA Doubts About Bee-Killing Pesticide" (Wired Science)

Source: Grist, 12/17/2010