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NEW YORK (December 29, 2009) – A pesticide that could be dangerously toxic to America’s honey bees must be pulled from store shelves as a result of a suit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Xerces Society. In an order issued last week, a federal court in New York invalidated EPA’s approval of the pesticide spirotetramat (manufactured by Bayer CropScience under the trade names Movento and
Ultor) and ordered the agency to reevaluate the chemical in compliance with the law. The court’s order goes into effect on January 15, 2010, and makes future sales of Movento illegal in the United States.
And, the reaction, from Bloomberg News…
Bayer ‘Disappointed’ in Ruling on Chemical That May Harm Bees
By Alan Bjerga
Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- A Bayer AG unit is “disappointed” by a U.S.
judge’s ruling that may prevent distribution of its spirotetramat insecticide, a spokesman said. Environmental groups say the chemical causes harm to honey bees.
U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote on Dec. 23 ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind approval for spirotetramat, which inhibits cell reproduction in insects. Cote said the EPA didn’t properly seek comments or publicize the review process. The judge in New York ordered the ruling stayed until Jan. 15 and sent the matter back to the EPA.
Spirotetramat, sold under various names including Movento, was approved for use in the U.S. last year, even though the agency was aware of its potential harm to bees, Cote said. The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental organization in New York, and the Xerces Society, a Portland, Oregon, a wildlife conservation group, challenged the EPA’s actions.
The insecticide is fit for use and the ruling is based on EPA processes rather than product safety, Jack Boyne, a spokesman for Bayer CropScience LP, a unit of the Leverkusen, Germany-based company, said in a statement. The chemical “has shown excellent performance with regard to bee safety,” he said. Bayer is “evaluating our options”on how to respond to Cote’s ruling, he said.
Pest killers have been linked to honeybee colony collapse disorder, or mass deaths of the insects, which have been reported since 2006. Bees pollinate $15 billion of U.S. plants each year, according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture.
Viruses, mites, pesticides and poor bee treatment have been suggested as primary causes of the disorder, which has been reported in at least
35 states, as well as in Europe and Asia. The Bayer insecticide was approved in Australia in August, and the company said at the time that it also had been cleared for use in Canada and Austria.
Information provided by Eric Mader
National Pollinator Outreach Coordinator The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Our Pollinator Conservation Program works to support the sustainability and profitability of farms while protecting pollinator insects. To join the Society, make a contribution, or read about our work, please visit www.xerces.org.
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