Urgent/by Monday: Help Stop Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoid Pesticides from Killing Bees and Contaminating Waterways!
(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2017) In its recently released 2017 Preliminary Aquatic Risk Assessment for Imidacloprid, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that this neonicotinoid insecticide is not only toxic to bees but also, is destroying life in the nation’s streams, rivers, and lakes. This assessment finds that aquatic invertebrates, especially aquatic insects basic to aquatic food chains, are sensitive to imidacloprid, and that current imidacloprid levels detected in streams, rivers, lakes, and drainage canals exceed acute and chronic toxicity endpoints. Impacts occur at low concentrations, and can result in decreased species abundance, altered predator-prey relationships, and reduced nutrient cycling. Impacts to other wildlife that depend on these species raise serious cause for concern.
Comment by July 24 and tell EPA to cancel these neonicotinoids to protect sensitive species and ecosystems. See sample comment language, below.
Clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran are too toxic for honey bees and native bees
EPA also finds that the other neonicotinoids –clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran– pose risks to bees both on and around treated fields, but the agency has not evaluated risks from soil, surface water, or contaminated seed dust, which underestimates exposure risks and continues to put our native bees at risk. Clothianidin and thiamethoxam are widely used as seed coatings on corn and soybeans, and their residues persist in soil for years, exposing soil-dwelling native bees to harmful levels of these pesticides. Dinotefuran, used mostly on vegetables and fruits, is just as toxic to bees as the other neonics, and has already been responsible for the deaths of thousands of bees in recent years.
Still overlooked by EPA are the additive and synergistic effects to non-target communities from exposure to neonics, other pesticides, and so-called “inert” ingredients. Multiple pesticide combinations are used in formulations and tank mixes, and are found in waterways; possible synergistic effects among these chemicals in the environment must be evaluated.
Following the public comment period on this aquatic risk assessment, EPA intends to release additional assessments throughout the remainder of 2017, and make registration review decisions for imidacloprid and three other neonicotinoids in 2018.
The 60-day public comment period in response to the publication of the risk assessments for these neonicotinoids closes Monday, July 24. EPA needs to hear from you!
[See sample comment language below, or, if possible, start with a personal concern.]
As a concerned citizen, I am alarmed by the frequency of detection of neonicotinoids like imidacloprid in U.S. waterways and the documented risks they pose to aquatic organisms and other species dependent on them. I have long been concerned about EPA’s inaction to protect bees from neonicotinoids. This recently released risk assessment finds that aquatic invertebrates, especially aquatic insects basic to aquatic food webs, are sensitive to imidacloprid, and that current imidacloprid levels detected in waterways exceed acute and chronic toxicity endpoints. Canada has proposed to phase out imidacloprid to protect waterways, and the U.S. must do the same!
Additionally, the other neonicotinoids — clothianidin, thiamethoxam and dinotefuran — are shown to be hazardous to both honeybees and native bees. EPA, however, has not fully evaluated all potential exposure routes, such as contaminated soil and surface water, meaning these creatures will continue to be at risk.
Given the toxicity of imidacloprid to invertebrates crucial to aquatic food webs, synergistic effects, and its movement into surface waters — along with current data deficiencies plaguing the other neonicotinoids — it is imperative that the registration of these chemicals be cancelled until it can be demonstrated that they can be used in a way that does not put bees or aquatic organisms at risk. EPA must initiate cancellation of imidacloprid, clothianidin, and other neonicotinoids.
Thank you for your consideration of these important issues.
Thank you for taking action to protect sensitive species and ecosystems from the harmful effects of neonicotinoids!