US regulator moves to restrict use of bee threat crop chemicals

15 August 2013 22:26  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US environmental officials said on Thursday that they are barring the use of some pesticides where bees are present in an effort to stem the on-going epidemic of bee colony collapse disorder (CCD).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that it has developed new pesticide product labels that prohibit the use of some neonicotinioid pesticides where bees are present.

“Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the EPA’s office of chemical safety and pollution prevention.

But he said the EPA “is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts”.

The EPA said that 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 agency said.

The EPA said it will work with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) safety standard.

But the agency said that producers must incorporate the mandated labelling changes in time for the 2014 planting season.

In a letter to crop protection chemicals producers, the EPA warned that “If you do not address the labelling changes described, … EPA will take appropriate action”.

In May, the EPA said, “the US 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”.

But leaders in the crop protection chemicals industry say that mounting criticism on a variety of insecticides and fungicides is misplaced because there are multiple natural, environmental and stress factors that could be influencing the bee pollinator crisis.

Recently introduced legislation in the US House would order the EPA to suspend the authorisation for a variety of fungicides and insecticides until field tests and scientific research can eliminate them as causes for CCD.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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