EPA Rebuffs Latest Call To Suspend Neonicotinoids In Wake Of EU Studies

February 4, 2013

From: Inside EPA

EPA is signaling that it will not grant environmentalists’ call to suspend use of the neonicotinoid pesticides amid concerns raised in recent European Union risk assessments — which drew on new methods that EPA may include in its new pollinator risk framework — but the agency is not ruling out restrictions if its upcoming analyses indicate more risk.

“We are continuing our comprehensive scientific evaluation on all the neonicotinoid pesticides,” an EPA spokesman says. “If during the course of our review we determine that mitigation is needed to protect pollinators, we will require mitigation action in advance of completing our re-evaluation of the neonicotinoids.”

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on Jan. 16 released risk assessments for three neonicotinoids —clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam — finding that all three pose acute risks to bees with some uses and that certain uses may not be acceptable. For other acute effects and for many sublethal and chronic effects, the assessments either do not rule out a high risk or they fail to make any finding at all because of data or methodological gaps. Thus EFSA falls short of linking the pesticides to pollinator declines, including colony collapse disorder (CCD), in which adult bees fail to return to their hives, resulting in the colony’s demise.

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