WASHINGTON (CN) – A Bayer pesticide may be responsible for honeybee colony collapse disorder, which threatens $15 billion worth of annual crops in the United States, and the U.S. EPA, which granted Bayer a permit for clothianidin in 2003, refuses to produce records on it, the Natural Resources Defense Council says. The NRDC says in Federal Court that Germany banned the chemical after massive bee die-offs there.
“The sudden and dramatic loss of millions of honey bee colonies, referred to as colony collapse disorder, was first documented in the United States in the fall of 2006,” the complaint states. “In the past two years, beekeepers have reported unexplained looses of 30 to 90 percent of their hives. According to the USDA, $15 billion worth of crops grown in the U.S. are dependent on bees for pollination. There is no confirmed cause of colony collapse, but a new class of insecticides, first approved for use in the past decade, is expected to play a role.
“In 2003, EPA granted a ‘conditional’ registration to one of these new pesticides, manufactured by Bayer and known to be harmful to bees. This pesticide was recently banned in Germany because of its contribution to a massive bee die-off. EPA conditioned its approval of this pesticide in part on Bayer’s submission of additional studies about impacts on bees. NRDC seeks records through FOIA regarding EPA’s evaluation of the safety of this pesticide to bees.”