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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Sulfoxaflor' Category


17
Oct

EPA Review Keeps Bee-Toxic Pesticide Sulfoxaflor on the Market with Limited Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed its plan last Friday to register the toxic chemical sulfoxaflor, in the face of  overwhelming evidence that it negatively affects bee populations. This decision is the final result of a long-fought legal battle over the chemical’s registration, spearheaded by beekeepers and public health organizations concerned with what has been identified as EPA’s inadequate and flawed pesticide review processes. The agency claims that amendments made to the original registration, such as reducing the number  of crops for which use is permitted or only allowing post-bloom applications, will protect pollinators. However, scientific studies have shown that there is no way to fully limit exposure to bees, especially native species that exist naturally in the environment, given that the chemical, being systemic, is found in pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. Given the evidence of harm related to sulfoxaflor’s use, as well as its demonstrated lack of need, advocates maintain that the agency’s decision to issue an amended registration violates its  duty to protect human health and the environment. Sulfoxaflor’s initial 2013 registration was challenged by beekeepers and subsequently vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals due to overwhelming risks to […]

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03
Jun

Public Comment Needed on EPA’s Plans To Allow Bee-Toxic Sulfoxaflor despite Elevated Bee Losses

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2016) Despite recent reports of continuing bee losses across the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to reevaluate the use of the bee-toxic insecticide sulfoxaflor, and is proposing an amended registration. Sulfoxaflor’s initial 2013 registration was challenged by beekeepers and subsequently vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals due to overwhelming risks to bees and EPA’s inadequate review of the data. Last September, the  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected  EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide may  have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor could no longer be used in the U.S. This decision was in response to a suit filed by beekeepers challenging EPA’s initial registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited the insecticide’s threat to bees and beekeeping. The case:  Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Beekeeping Federation, Thomas Smith, Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson v. U.S. EPA  (9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,”¯No. 13-7234) According to the court decision, EPA skirted its own regulations […]

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20
Jan

Major Supermarket Bans Bee-Toxic Pesticides in Produce Production

 (Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2016) Aldi Süd, the German supermarket chain with stores in the U.S., has become the first major European retailer to ban pesticides toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, from fruits and vegetables produced for their stores. Aldi has requested suppliers comply at the earliest possible time. In light of the growing pollinator crisis and due to public pressure, retailers in Europe and the U.S. are slowly beginning to make the switch away from bee-toxic pesticides. Beginning January 1, suppliers of fruits and vegetables to Aldi suppliers will have to ensure that their cultivation practices do not include the following eight pesticides identified as toxic to bees (thiamethoxam, chlorpyrifos,  clothianidin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, fipronil, imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor) to meet  the new requirement. According to a press release from Greenpeace, the chemicals are used on various commodities in Europe  —thiamethoxam (used in lettuce and endive), chlorpyrifos, clothianidin (used in kohlrabi, herbs, Brussels sprouts, head cabbage, cauliflower and kale), cypermethrin (leek, head cabbage and leguminous vegetables), deltamethrin (cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, pea, head cabbage, tomato and lettuce),  imidacloprid (applied to apples, peaches, apricots and lettuce). Sulfoxaflor was recently granted regulatory approval in Europe, despite calls […]

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28
Oct

Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticide Sulfoxaflor in EU

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2015) On the heels of a recent federal court decision that rejected the U.S. registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited inadequate and flawed review of the science on the chemical’s toxicity to bees, European beekeepers filed complaint that that asks the European Court of Justice to take the same action. The complaint  asks the court to cancel sulfoxaflor’s authorization. Sulfoxaflor is a neonicotinoid-like chemical that, like neonicotinoids, is highly toxic to bees. Three of the most widely used neonicotinoids are currently under a two-year European-wide moratorium which began December 2013, due to concerns about risks to bee populations. European beekeepers, Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination, the Italian National Beekeeping Union (UNAAPI), and PAN Europe, filed the complaint which cites a published  negative opinion on Dow AgroScience’s sulfoxaflor by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). According to EFSA, the pesticide is categorized as ”˜highly toxic to bees’ and it identified crucial toxicity data gaps, which according to the beekeepers, makes a proper risk assessment for bees impossible. Despite these facts, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante) and the EU member states authorized sulfoxaflor in July 2015, completely bypassing the pesticide regulation, the complaint […]

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11
Sep

Federal Court Overturns EPA Approval of New Bee-Killing Insecticide Sulfoxaflor

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2015) On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) unconditional registration of the systemic and bee-toxic pesticide sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law and its own regulations when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide would have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor may no longer be used in the U.S. However, while the decision is good news for now, it still leaves the door open for sulfoxaflor’s future use once EPA obtains the necessary information regarding impacts to honey bees and re-approves the insecticide in accordance with law. The case is Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Beekeeping Federation, Thomas Smith, Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson v. U.S. EPA (9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,  No. 13-7234). Dow AgroSciences (a Dow Chemical company)  joined  the case as an intervenor to support EPA. EPA initially proposed to conditionally register sulfoxaflor and requested additional studies to address gaps in the data regarding the pesticide’s effects on bees. A few months later, however, EPA unconditionally registered […]

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18
Mar

Members of Congress Call for Listing Monarch Butterfly as Threatened

(Beyond Pesticides March 18, 2015) Fifty-two members of Congress penned a letter to the White House, calling for the protection of the Monarch butterfly, which has declined by 90 percent in the last 20 years, and for listing as a ”˜threatened’ species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This comes on the heels of a formal  notice  of intent to sue submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to protect threatened and endangered species, including butterflies, amphibians and birds, from flupyradifurone, a newly approved systemic insecticide. The letter sent to President Obama on Tuesday was spearheaded by Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME), a long-time advocate for protecting monarch butterflies. In her press release, Rep. Pingree notes that the annual migration of monarchs from North America to Mexico has plummeted because of the use of herbicides on genetically engineered (GE) crops in the U.S.   The herbicides have wiped out milkweed, the main food for monarchs.  According to the letter, efforts by farmers, local, state and federal agencies to boost habitat are laudable, but without changes in how the federal government addresses the use of herbicides, especially as applied to herbicide-resistant crops, vital monarch habitats will simply continue to […]

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04
Mar

Appeals Court to Hear Case on EPA’s Registration of Bee-Toxic Chemical

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2015) The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case brought by beekeepers challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of a toxic pesticide known to be toxic to bees. In 2013, the beekeepers filed suit against the agency, citing that the new chemical, sulfoxaflor, as further endangering bees and beekeeping and noting that their concerns were not properly addressed by EPA before registration was granted. Sulfoxaflor is a sub-class of the neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to global bee declines. The Court has agreed to hear the case on April 14, 2015. The case, Pollinator Stewardship Council v. EPA, which requests changes to EPA’s product label for sulfoxaflor, was first filed July 2013. The petitioners include the Pollinator Stewardship Council, the American Honey Producers Association, the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas Smith. The beekeeper groups are represented by Earthjustice. The case is one of a number of pending legal cases on EPA’s pesticide decisions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), including one submitted March 2013 by Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Food Safety, beekeepers, […]

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28
Jan

Will Pollinator Declines Increase Global Malnutrition and Disease? Yes, Says New Study

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2015) Global decline of pollinators and pollination services will have a devastating impact on the nutritional health of people in developing countries, especially women and children, if left unabated, according to a new study from scientists at the University of Vermont and Harvard University. This research is the first to examine how pollinators influence nutrient intake and the risk of nutrient deficiency. It also comes at a time when policy makers are slow to find long-term sustainable solutions to reversing pollinator declines, despite mounting scientific evidence urging immediate action. Pollination services are valued at over $125 billion globally and pollinators are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat. However, pollinators like honey bees, wild bees, butterflies and others are in decline around the globe, with many beekeepers, scientists, and environmental activists singling out pesticides as a major contributing factor. But despite suggestions that pollinators are critical not only for global food supply, but specifically human nutritional health, there has not been any research to support this claim until now. The study, “Do Pollinators Contribute to Nutritional Health,” published in PLoS ONE, combined data on crop pollination requirements, food nutrient densities, and actual human […]

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11
Feb

“Near-Infinitesimal” Exposure to Neonicotinoids Reduces Bees Ability to Gather Food

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2014) In the midst of another tough winter for bees across the globe, scientists reveal new research showing that exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides causes a 57% reduction in the amount of pollen bumblebees are able to collect for their colony. The new evidence on these systemic pesticides, “Field realistic doses of pesticide imidacloprid reduce bumblebee pollen foraging efficiency,” published in the journal Ecotoxicology, documents a decline in pollen gathering abilities at extremely low doses that bees are likely to encounter in the field. Researchers found that the effects of neonicotinoid intoxication persist for a least a month after exposure, underscoring the long-term damage these chemicals can cause to bee colonies. Hannah Feltham, PhD, research student and co-author of the study, remarked, “This work adds another piece to the jigsaw. Even near-infinitesimal doses of these neurotoxins seem to be enough to mess up the ability of bees to gather food. Given the vital importance of bumblebees as pollinators, this is surely a cause for concern.” After being exposed to “near-infinitesimal” amounts of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid through pollen and sugar water (6 parts per billion and .7 parts per billion, respectively), bumblebees were outfitted with Radio Frequency Identification […]

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07
Feb

As Bees Decline, EPA Registers Another Toxic Insecticide

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2014) Flying in the face of  recent science demonstrating that pollinator populations are declining, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made the decision to unconditionally register another pesticide that is known to be highly toxic to bees, coming almost one year after EPA registered sulfoxaflor, disregarding concerns from beekeepers and environmental groups. The announcement, posted in the Federal Register on Wednesday, set tolerances for the pesticide cyantraniliprole in foods ranging from almonds and berries, to leafy vegetables, onions, and milk. EPA establishes the allowable limit of the chemical residue, called tolerances, based on what EPA considers ”˜acceptable’ risk.  EPA’s ruling details that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide residue,” despite all evidence that cyantraniliprole is toxic to bees and harmful to mammals. Ignoring beekeeper warning and concerns on their impacts to bees, EPA has given the green light for cyantraniliprole after recently registering sulfoxaflor.  In July 2013, beekeepers filed suit against EPA for their decision to register sulfoxaflor when it failed to demonstrate that it will not cause any ”˜unreasonable adverse effects on the environment’ as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act […]

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19
Dec

Environmental and Farm Groups Support Beekeepers’ Challenge of Newest Bee-Toxic Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2013) Environmental and farm groups, including Beyond Pesticides,  came together to file a legal brief in support of the nation’s major beekeeping associations’ lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The beekeepers, including the Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, and the American Beekeeping Federation, are requesting that a federal court vacate EPA’s decision to register sulfoxaflor, a new chemical known to be highly toxic to bees and considered in the same chemical class of the controversial insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which have been linked to bee decline. According to the  Friend of the Court (Amicus curiae) brief, filed by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of the organizations, “Scientists have linked the drastic declines in honey bee and other pollinator populations to systemic pesticides, and more specifically, to a category of systemic pesticides known as neonicotinoids.  Sulfoxaflor is a systemic pesticide with the same mode of action as neonicotinoids, that EPA determined is ”˜very highly toxic’ to bees.  EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor will introduce yet another systemic and highly toxic insecticide into the environment, intensifying the ecological crises of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and other pollinator losses.” […]

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10
Jul

Beekeeping Industry Files Suit to Stop New Pesticide Toxic to Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2013) Several beekeeping organizations have filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) to reverse a recent decision to register a new  pesticide, sulfoxaflor, which is highly toxic to bees. The beekeepers are not satisfied that their submitted concerns were properly addressed by EPA before registration was granted. Sulfoxaflor is a sub-class of the neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to global bee declines. The suit is filed as the beekeeping industry across the country struggles for survival, and faces the costly effects of pesticides upon their businesses. The National Pollinator Defense Fund, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith submitted the case in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting changes in the sulfoxaflor product label, the Biological Economic Assessment Division (BEAD) assessment of the value of pollinators and their established habits, and the EPA’s Risk Assessment Process. The requested changes would acknowledge pollinator’s critical role in the U.S. food supply, and ensure that decisions regarding new pesticides comply with applicable laws. Another legal challenge submitted in March 2013 by beekeepers, environmental and consumer groups, including Beyond […]

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08
May

EPA Green-Lights New Pesticide Highly Toxic to Bees, Dismisses Concerns

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2013) In apparent contradiction to its stated intention to protect pollinators and find solutions to the current pollinator crisis, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the unconditional registration of the new insecticide sulfoxaflor,  which the agency classifies as highly toxic to honey bees. Despite warnings and concerns raised by beekeepers and environmental groups, sulfoxaflor will further endanger bees and beekeeping. EPA continues to put industry interests first to exacerbate an already dire pollinator crisis.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   […]

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12
Feb

Vanishing Honey Bee Colonies May Impact California’s Almond Production

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2013)   Is 2013 the year colony collapse disorder (CCD) begins impacting our food supply? According to the American Bee Journal, almond growers in California may not have access to the honey bee colonies necessary to pollinate this year’s crop. “We need 1.6 million colonies, or two colonies per acre, and California has only about 500,000 colonies that can be used for that purpose. We need to bring in a million more colonies but due to the winter losses, we may not have enough bees,” says Eric Mussen, PhD,  extension apiculturist at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) Department of Entomology. The problem, Dr. Mussen explains, is due to heavy losses this winter and less populous hives overall. Some beekeepers are reporting astonishing winter losses upwards of 90 percent, and in select cases complete colony loss. Honey production in 2012 was one of the worst years in the history of the United States, Dr. Mussen notes. Less honey means less food for overwintering bees, putting increased stress on colonies attempting to fight off the spread of CCD. CCD is the name given to the precipitous decline of honey bee populations around the world beginning in […]

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06
Feb

Take Action: EPA Poised to Repeat Missteps, Set to Register Pesticide Toxic to Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to register a new insecticide, sulfoxaflor, which the agency has classified as “very highly toxic” to honey bees. Despite efforts underway in Europe to protect bee populations, and continued warnings from beekeepers, EPA is poised to allow another chemical toxic to bees into the environment without proper field studies evaluating long-term effects to bee colonies and with label statements that are impractical and unenforceable. With continuing reports of bee deaths, would sulfoxaflor be yet another bee disaster waiting to happen? Take action and tell EPA not to repeat past missteps and protect pollinators from sulfoxaflor by providing a public comment to EPA.   (see below for sample comments). Last month, EPA opened the comment period for the proposed conditional registration of sulfoxaflor, a new active ingredient, whose mode of action is similar to that of neonicotinoid pesticides -it acts on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) in insects. Even though it has not been classified as a neonicotinoid, it elicits similar neurological responses in honey bees, with many believing that sulfoxaflor is the new generation of neonicotinoid.  EPA has noted that sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees, and […]

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