Listen closely. Do you hear that buzzing? That’s the sound of bees rejoicing. In a rare turn of events, Federal courts recently overturned the EPA’s approval of the insecticide sulfoxaflor. The decision was based on “flawed and limited information,” which initially led to its approval for use on a variety of crops. New studies have shown that it is highly toxic to honey bees.
Los Angeles Times describes the insecticide in question..
Sold under the brand names Closer and Transform, sulfoxaflor is an insecticide aimed at piercing and sucking insects (such as aphids and lygus) that attack a variety of crops, such as cotton, tomato, pepper, strawberry and citrus."
The EPA acknowledged that the insecticide was a likely hazard to the bees but claimed to be reducing such risks by limiting its application. “Not so fast!” said the courts, who determined there was not enough evidence to back up such claims.
Writing for a three-judge panel, Judge Mary M. Schroeder said,
Bees are essential to pollinate important crops and in recent years have been dying at alarming rates...”
As reported here before, the growing concern for the honey bee has to do with more than a lack of honey in our tea. Cross-pollination contributes to an estimated 30 percent of the world's crops. In other words, without the bees many of our food cropssa would simply die off, leaving much of the world with a crisis of malnutrition on their hands and the rest of us missing our favorite fruits and vegetables.
The Court’s decision sends, many of us hope, a clear message to the EPA to reevaluate their commitment to our pollinators. As an article in Pesticide Action Network states,
The court's ruling on sulfoxaflor should be a signal to EPA that it’s time to go back to the drawing board and revamp its plan to protect bees from harmful pesticides. Its proposed new rules are myopic and they continue to fast-track harmful pesticides to market. They must do better.”
Court sides with bees, says no to pesticide via Panna.org
Why We Need Bees via nrdc.org
Learn more about sulfoxaflor in this interview with Earthjustice Attorney, Greg Loarie