Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy
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OCA's Save the Bees Campaign

Bayer Pesticide Banned over Threat to Honeybees

A U.S. District Judge from Manhattan has banned the sale of spirotetramat, a pesticide produced by Bayer CropScience. Citing allegations by environmental groups and commercial beekeepers that the pesticide is toxic and is killing off the nation's honeybee population, Judge Denise Cote has declared that sales of spirotetramat must cease after January 15.

According to Cote, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not follow proper procedure when approving spirotetramat. The EPA did not take public comment about the pesticide before approving it and the agency failed to publish both the Bayer application and the approval documents in the Federal Register. The EPA and Bayer CropScience have 60 days to appeal the decision.

According to Bayer CropScience, spirotetramat is perfectly safe and does not harm honeybees, insisting that the pesticide has been extensively tested. The company laments the fact that the chemical was banned because of procedural faults but did not indicate how it would proceed.

According to Aaron Colangelo, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), spirotetramat is a potentially hazardous insecticide that should be pulled from the market and evaluated further. The NRDC in conjunction with the Xerces Society, a wildlife conservation group based in Portland, jointly sued the EPA over its approval of the pesticide.

Amazingly, the EPA admits that it approved spirotetramat illegally but has argued that its actions should have no consequences. This speaks volumes to the agency's arrogance in how it views its role as a regulatory agency. 

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