A federal appeals court has made a swift decision that will not make the CEO of Dow AgroScience happy, though it just might help save our bees. Just weeks ago, the court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of an insecticide called sulfoxaflor, marketed by Dow. This was an important first step in supporting our pollinating insects, which are absolutely vital to our food supply.
Sulfoxaflor is in the neonicotinoid class of pesticides. Insecticides like sulfoxaflor have been drawing more and more attention from experts of late, concerned that the chemicals are killing bees and causing colony collapse disorder. The decision was blunt, and basically told the EPA that they could NOT give authorization for Dow to keep using a chemical which is harming pollinators.
Court documents state:
“The panel held that because the EPA’s decision to unconditionally register sulfoxaflor was based on flawed and limited data, the EPA’s unconditional approval was not supported by substantial evidence. The panel vacated the EPA’s unconditional registration because given the precariousness of bee populations, leaving the EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor in place risked more potential environmental harm than vacating it.
Concurring in the judgment, Jude N.R. Smith agreed with the panel’s decision because he could not say the EPA supported its decision with substantial evidence.
He wrote separately to ask the EPA to explain the analysis it conducted, the data it reviewed, and how it relied on the data in making its final decision.”
Early studies showed that Dow’s chemical insecticide was harmful to bee populations. The court said that the ‘alarming’ demise of bees was reason enough for this neonics to be studied more fully and pulled off the market until it can be proven, unequivocally, that it is not responsible for bee deaths – but that is highly unlikely.
Photo Credit: Travis Heying / MCT