Report: USDA also knew about bee-killing pesticide

Monday, January 24, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: USDA, pesticide, health news

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(NaturalNews) Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that attack insects' central nervous systems, are increasingly being linked to killing off bees, bats and other pollinators that are essential for growing food. And a two-year-old report just now being released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adds to the growing body of evidence that these toxic insecticides are a serious threat to not only bees, but also to humans.

It is now widely known that neonicotinoids are a highly-dangerous neurotoxin that absorbs systemically into plants, meaning it makes its way throughout the entire plant, including into the pollen and nectar that bees eat. And these neurotoxins are also a threat to mammals, which includes humans.

Last month, a leaked document revealed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knowingly approved, and continued to allow approval for, neonicotinoids, despite the fact that they knew the chemicals killed bees. The agency even knew that Bayer CropScience, the purveyor of most of the neonicotinoids used today, had falsified safety data to get them approved in the first place (

And now it has been revealed that USDA scientists also knew about the dangers associated with neonicotinoids. So why did it take two years for the USDA report to see the light of day? Dr. Jeffrey Pettis and researchers from the U.S. government bee laboratory in Maryland, authors of the USDA study, did not provide an answer to this question. They did admit to the U.K. Independent, however, that their study "has been too long in getting out," and that it would soon be published in a journal.

Pettis and his team found that neonicotinoids were directly responsible for increasing bees' susceptibility to infectious diseases, even at levels so low that they are practically undetected. This fact alone debunks the myth perpetuated by Bayer and other neonicotinoid producers that the chemicals are safe when used "properly", because there, in fact, seems to be no proper or safe level.

"This new research from America confirms that at very, very low concentrations, neonicotinoid chemicals can make a honeybee vulnerable to fatal disease," said Matt Shardlow, director of the charity Buglife, to the Independent. "If these pesticides are causing large numbers of honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies and moths to get sick and die from diseases they would otherwise have survived, then neonicotinoid chemicals could be the main cause of both colony collapse disorder and the loss of wild pollinator populations."

"The weight of evidence against neonicotinoids is becoming irresistible -- government should act now to ban the risky use of these toxins."

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