The world's honey bees are disappearing, yet a leaked memo shows the Environmental Protection Agency approved the use of clothianidin—even though its own scientists warned that the pesticide is toxic to bees.
Fast Company magazine is calling it the “Wik-Bee-Leaks.” It is a leaked document from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showing that the agency green lighted the use of a pesticide that kills honey bees, even though EPA scientists urged the toxic pesticide not be used.
Called clothianidin, the pesticide is produced by Bayer CropScience and is used on corn, canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers and wheat. According to Grist.com, farmers bought $262 million worth of the pesticide in 2009. The pesticide has been banned in Germany, France, Italy and Slovenia.
The 101-page EPA memo documenting the scientific warnings against the use of clothianidin was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper. It was issued in response to Bayer’s request to use the pesticide on cotton and mustard, Fast Company reports. Despite the warnings from its own scientists, who note that “acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis,” the agency allowed the pesticide to keep its registration.
Crucial for their role in pollinating many crops, honey bees have been disappearing throughout the world. The EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division has been expressing concern about clothianidin toxicity to honey bees since the pesticide was released to the market in 2003.