The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has re-approved a pesticide for use throughout the country despite its known toxicity to honeybee populations. The chemical, sulfoxaflor, is produced by DowDupont, a major chemical company that contributed $1 million to President Trump’s campaign.
Sulfoxaflor was originally approved for use by the EPA in 2013, but the approval was adamantly opposed and challenged by beekeepers and environmentalists. In 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to discontinue the chemical’s approval since DowDupont could not provide enough evidence proving their product is not harmful to bee populations. Despite this ruling, the government continued to offer “emergency approvals” of its use and now has officially re-approved its use on over 190 million acres of crops. Their product is now approved for use on corn, strawberries, citrus, pumpkins, pineapples and soybeans.
Although the EPA’s own studies provide evidence that the substance is “highly toxic to honeybees at all life stages” and similarly toxic to native bee populations, the EPA announced it was thrilled to lift the ban on such a highly effective agricultural product.
“Scientists have long said pesticides like sulfoxaflor are the cause of the unprecedented colony collapse. Letting sulfoxaflor back on the market is dangerous for our food system, economy and environment,” says a legal representative from Earthjustice.
Both honey bees and native bees have seen a rapid decline in their numbers over the past few decades. This winter, beekeepers reportedly lost over 35 percent of their colonies. Since 1947, the population of honeybees has dropped from 6 million to under 2.4 million.
“The Trump EPA’s reckless approval of this bee-killing pesticide across 200 million acres of crops like strawberries and watermelon without any public process is a terrible blow to imperiled pollinators,” says the director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Via Huff Post
Image via Johann Piber