There are many reasons all uses of neonicotinoid insecticides, including clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran and imidacloprid must be cancelled.
These insecticides are killing the bees that are essential to U.S. agriculture. They could cause an “ecological Armageddon” of mass species extinction. And they are contaminating human water and food supplies with chemicals suspected of impairing the developing human nervous system. [source: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/jennifer-sass/neonicotinoid-pesticides-bad-bees-and-may-be-bad-people-too]
With 35 percent of global crop production, including $15 billion/year worth of U.S. crops, dependent on pollinators, it is unnecessarily risky to employ a class of insecticides that is acutely and chronically toxic to bees. We will suffer staggering losses to our farm economy and severe declines in food production if the use of neonicotinoids is allowed to put commercial beekeepers out of business.
In 2007, the Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America told Congress that managed honeybees could disappear by 2035. Unfortunately, in the last decade, nothing has been done to change course. In 2017, the New York Times reported that over the last six years, the bee industry that makes $500 million a year spent $2 billion to replace 10 million hives. The unsustainable losses that beekeepers are enduring will inevitably destroy the industry, causing dangerous disruptions to food production and availability.
This is a very foolish risk to take. Especially when most uses of neonics are unnecessary. The Center for Food Safety’s report, Alternatives to Neonicotinoid Insecticide-Coated Corn Seed, is the first to analyze the peer-reviewed science on the efficacy of neonic corn seed coatings for each of the most important target insects in the Corn Belt and elsewhere. The report finds that if neonic coatings on corn seed were eliminated, they would rarely be replaced with other insecticides.
We oppose the EPA’s arbitrary and capricious reversal of its previous determination that neonicotinoid-treated seeds pose little benefit.
For the little good that they do, neonicotinoids are devastating to wild bees and other pollinators and insects. When these populations collapse, insect-eating birds, shrews, lizards, and frogs go with them.
Birds can also be directly impacted by neonic exposure. As the EPA assessments acknowledge, risks posed to certain birds from eating neonic-treated seeds exceeded the agency’s level of concern—the level at which harm is known to occur—by as much as 200-fold. The EPA analysis found that if neonic-treated seeds make up just 1 percent to 6 percent of a bird’s diet, serious harms could result.
A comprehensive peer-reviewed analysis of the most recent scientific studies on neonics is available in the 2017 update of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment on systemic insecticides, published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research. Please revise the risk assessments to include this important review of hundreds of published papers and industry studies.