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Protecting Bees from the Pesticide Sulfoxaflor

A honeybee harvests pollen from a flower.

The pesticide Sulfoxaflor has been shown to be "highly toxic" to honey bees, and other insect pollinators.

Pakhnyushcha / Shutterstock

Case Overview

National Beekeeping organizations along with the National Honey Bee Advisory Board have come together in an attempt to protect the bee industry by an appeal against EPA for its approval of the pesticide Sulfoxaflor, shown to be “highly toxic” to honey bees, and other insect pollinators. Sulfoxaflor is a new chemistry, and the first of a newly assigned sub-class of pesticides in the “neonicotinoid” class of pesticides, which scientists across the globe have linked as a potential factor to widespread and massive bee colony collapse. The case is filed as the beekeeping industry across the country struggles for survival, and faces the costly effects of pesticides upon their businesses.

The Pollinator Stewardship Council (formerly National Pollinator Defense Fund), American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith have filed an appeal against the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting changes needed in the Sulfoxaflor label, the Biological Economic Assessment Division assessment of the value of pollinators and their established habits, and the EPA’s Risk Assessment Process. These changes would acknowledge pollinator’s critical role in the U.S. food supply, and ensure that decisions regarding new pesticides comply with applicable laws.

Sulfoxaflor was granted a full registration by EPA for most crops, many of which require pollinators. Many other registered crops are utilized by pollinators, including honey bees, as forage. Based on the approved registration, pollinators, especially honey bees, may potentially be exposed numerous times by labelled Sulfoxaflor applications as honey bees are moved across the country to pollinate crops, produce the nation’s supply of honey, and recuperate from the rigors of pollination.

The groups are being represented by the public interest law organization Earthjustice. The appeal process through the courts is the only mechanism open to challenge EPA’s decision; it is commonly used by commodity groups to rectify inadequate pesticide labeling.

Action Alert: Save the Bees

Bee populations are plummeting, yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently sided with Dow AgroSciences to approve the new pesticide sulfoxaflor that is highly toxic to bees. Take action and urge the EPA to deny Dow’s application to expand the registration of sulfoxaflor.

Case ID

2558

Attorneys

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