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The humble honey bee is getting its fair share of buzz this year — which doesn’t bode particularly well for the species, or American agriculture as a whole.
The most recent revelations involve leaked government documents, regulatory malfeasance, and scientific censorship. To mix an insect metaphor, it’s quite a tangled web…
Since 2006, serious decimation of the North American bee population has taken place. Termed “colony collapse disorder,” millions of worker bees have mysteriously disappeared from their colonies, largely confounding the scientific community.
Blame has volleyed from viruses to fungi to cell phone radiation…
But a suspect has emerged as enemy number one: Bayer’s pesticide clothianidin. Clothianidin is widely used on America’s corn crops in addition to other ubiquitous crops like canola, soy, and sugar beets.
Leaked EPA documents have detailed the regulatory agency’s allowance of clothianidin to maneuver its way through regulatory channels in the face of scientists’ warning and flawed studies.
According to these documents provided to beekeeper Tom Theobald, the EPA was aware of the pesticide’s dangers way back in 2003; but the EPA granted Bayer a “conditional” approval that allowed them to start using the pesticide.
This conditional approval was contingent on a field study of the pesticide to be carried out in the future. When that study was finally undertaken, many scientists agreed that it was flawed and quite stacked in Bayer’s favor.
Here’s the EPA’s timeline, courtesy of the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA).*
*The italicized portions are from the EPA memos:
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