Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 17, 2014

Contact: Lori Ann Burd, (971) 717-6405

EPA Study: Highly Toxic Bee-killing Pesticides Yield Little or No Benefits for Soybean Production

PORTLAND, Ore.— A new study from the Environmental Protection Agency has found that the neonicotinoid seed coatings linked to massive bee die-offs — including the largest bumblebee die-off in history, where 25,000 bees died in a single incident in a Portland suburb — provide little to no benefits for soybean production. Neonicotinoids, highly toxic pesticides, are used as seed coating on 30 percent of the 76 million acres of soybeans harvested every year in the United States. While the EPA study focused on soybeans, millions of acres of other crops, such as wheat and corn, are also subjected to neonicotinoid seed treatments.

“It’s shocking that chemical companies are pushing these highly toxic pesticides on millions of acres of soybeans despite the fact that they provide little or no benefits for farmers or yields,” said Lori Ann Burd, endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In addition to killing bees, neonicotinoids are contaminating our waterways and causing bird declines of more than 3 percent annually. Now that the EPA has found that neonicotinoid seed treatments don’t even provide significant benefits, the next step is for the agency to ban these pesticides.”

Neonicotinoids are already banned in the European Union. Effective in 2016 they will also be banned in national wildlife refuges in the United States due to their harmful impacts on wildlife, including threatened and endangered species. The Center joined the Center for Food Safety in petitioning for this ban.

“The evidence is mounting that these pesticides have unacceptable environmental impacts and are, at best, providing only negligible benefits,” said Burd. “We can’t ignore the science any longer; these dangerous chemicals need to be banned.” 

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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