by Ariel Schwartz
December 10, 2010
from FastCompany Website
The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops.
A number of theories have popped up as
to why the North American honey bee population has declined -
electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all
been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency
allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite
warnings from EPA scientists.
The pesticide scooped up $262 million in
sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy,
sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to
The document invalidates a prior Bayer study that justified the registration of clothianidin on the basis of its safety to honeybees:
The entire 101-page memo is damning (and
worth a read). But the opinion of EPA scientists apparently isn't
enough for the agency, which is allowing clothianidin to keep its
Clothianidin was still allowed on the
market while Bayer worked on a
botched toxicity study, in
which test and control fields were planted as close as 968 feet
So why won't the EPA follow? The answer probably has something to do with the American affinity for corn products.
But without honey bees, our entire food
supply is in trouble.