EPA Refuses to Regulate Pesticide-Coated Seeds That Harm Pollinators

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a legal petition by Center for Food Safety (CFS), Pesticide Action Network of North America and others, demanding that the agency fix its failure to regulate pesticide-coated seeds, which are known to be widely harming bees and other pollinators.

These crop seeds are coated with systemic insecticides known as neonicotinoids, the most widely used insecticides, and have devastating environmental effects.

CFS filed the rulemaking petition in 2017 that would close the loophole, but was forced to take take the agency to court when EPA failed to answer the petition as of late 2021.

Last week’s response is issued pursuant to a court-set deadline.

“We gave EPA a golden chance and a blueprint to fix a problem that has caused significant harm to people, bees, birds, and the environment — and it stubbornly refused,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety. “It’s extremely disappointing and we’ll be exploring all possible next steps to protect communities and the environment from the hazard of pesticide-coated seeds, including a lawsuit challenging this decision.”

Crops grown from pesticide-coated seeds, such as corn, soybean and sunflower seeds cover over 150 million acres of U.S. farmland each year.

Neonicotinoids are taken up into the plant’s circulatory system as the plant grows, permeating leaf, pollen, nectar and other plant tissues. Neonicotinoids affect the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death.

Sublethal impacts include impaired navigation and learning. As a result, beneficial insects, valuable pollinators and birds — including threatened and endangered species protected under the Endangered Species Act — are killed or injured.

For songbirds, ingesting just one neonic-coated seed can cause serious harm or death.

Additionally, more than 80% of the pesticide coating can leave the seed, contaminating the air, soil and waterways of surrounding environments. Most notably, clouds of neonicotinoid-laced dust released during planting operations have caused mass die-offs of honeybees and wild native bees.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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