After decades of work, a reasonable thing

The EPA announced it will cancel all food uses of the organophosphate Chlorpyrifos.

It's an absolutely huge change, the result of decades of advocacy including legal action in 2007 and a court directive this April to instruct “the EPA to either modify chlorpyrifos’s tolerances and publish findings to show they are safe, including for infants and children, or to revoke all chlorpyrifos tolerances within 60 days ." 

The EPA rarely removes pesticides from use and to have done so feels like a sea change. It's cause for celebration, yet one that shines a spotlight on the continued work to be done, as the decision allows questionable exceptions that are clearly responding to vested interests. The new ruling allows these uses:
(i) Residential use of containerized baits; (ii) Indoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only ship holds, railroad boxcars, industrial plants, manufacturing plants, or food processing plants; (iii) Outdoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only: golf courses, road medians, Industrial plant sites; (iv) Non-structural wood treatments including: fenceposts, utility poles, railroad ties, landscape timers, logs, pallets, wooden containers, poles, posts, and processed wood products; (v) Public health uses: Fire ant mounds (drench and granular treatment); (vi) nurseries and greenhouses; and (vii) Mosquito control. 
Another cause for concern is that the EPA's rationale for the ban could make it harder to get rid of other brain-harming pesticides. 

Despite these sobering conditions, the EPA removing a pesticide from the market happens so rarely and the absolute harm of this product's use means that this ban is worthy of celebration. The Pollinator Stewardship Council is grateful to all who worked for so hard and so long to make this decision happen including Earthjustice, League of United Latin American Citizens, the Pesticide Action Network, United Farm Workers, Beyond Pesticides, National Resources Defense Council and many others.

EPA acknowledges Neonics driving Endangered Species declines


In August, the EPA released multiple studies acknowledging the likely harm to endangered species from three neonicotinoid insecticides. 


Clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam likely harm all of the country’s 38 protected amphibians and roughly three fourths of all other endangered plants and animals, according to long-anticipated biological evaluation released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Here's the Center for Biological Diversity's press release, and the EPA's.

Anyone else thinking about the timeline here?  Neonics are the most widely used insecticide in the world and have been in use for a quarter of a century.  In reading over the EPA's summary of their findings it appears that they focus on the process of their work rather than the outcomes. With the process being a decades-long delay in the very basic assessment– that these chemistries are likely harmful to our most at risk species, the ones we've decided we're putting our tax dollars toward protecting–it raises pretty significant questions about who this process is working for and why.   

And, as we know:

Pesticides are synergistically poisoning our colonies. As Ula Chroback writes in Bee Culture magazine,  "Across the studies, the researchers repeatedly found that when bees were exposed to multiple agrichemicals, the combination had a synergistic effect on mortality. Meanwhile, combos of other stressors, like parasites and nutrition, tended to have effects that just added together."  

What if the EPA required an analysis of a new chemistry’s synergies before a pesticide is registered?

Thank you EAS, for a great conference!

Board members Julia Mahood and Beth Conrey at EAS in Kentucky.

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