After unsuccessfully petitioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict insecticides killing honeybees, four professional beekeepers and five environmental and consumer groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA on Thursday. The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District Court of California with demands of immediate bans on the use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam in insecticides.
The plaintiffs have alleged that the EPA has failed to protect honeybees and the important role of honey bees in pollinating food crops. The plaintiffs demand that the EPA should immediately suspend the use of certain toxic insecticides, which are responsible for widespread deaths of honeybees.
The suspect class of pesticides are known as neonicotinoids and are systemic insecticides absorbed by plants and spread throughout their systems making any part of the plant toxic to insects, and not only those that are sprayed upon.
The lawsuit also challenges EPA’s “conditional registrations” system which expedites the approval process for chemical companies hitting the environment with newer breeds of chemical poisons. The lawsuit pointed out that at least two-thirds of pesticide products containing clothianidin and thiamexotham have been approved through the conditional registration process, since 2000.
Bees are traditionally used by orchard owners to pollinate important U.S. food crops like cranberries, almonds, blueberries, apples, cherries, avocados and many others. However, recent years have witnessed radical declines in the U.S. honeybee populations, with a number of studies linking honeybee deaths with some new kind of insecticides that have hit the market.
In Europe a ban on neonicotinoids has been proposed by the European Commission after reports from the EU’s European Food Safety Authority that nenicotinoids pose acute risks to the health of honeybees.
While almost 75% neonicotinoid containing pesticides approved by EPA over the last decade has been through “conditional registration,” the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign said that some species of pollinating animals have seen a 90 percent population decline in the last decade alone.