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Groups sue to protect bees and pollinators from pesticides

March 21, 2013|By Julie Cart
  • Activists and bee farmers take part in a rally calling on the European Union to ban the use of bee poisons and other pesticides, in front of the European Parliament, in Brussels, Belgium.
Activists and bee farmers take part in a rally calling on the European Union… (Olivier Hoslet / European…)

The plight of bees is headed to a courtroom.

A coalition of beekeepers, environmentalists and consumer groups filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency this week, contending the agency has not done enough to protect bees from pesticides, which they say are linked to the increasing bee-colony collapse problem.

The suit, filed by the Center for Food Safety, says the class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids are improperly regulated. The group calls for halting the use of the  pesticide until more is known about the effects on bees and other pollinators.

While the EPA conditionally approved the use of clothianidin 10 years ago, opponents argue that when the pesticide is sprayed on crops, it can remain on the plants and transfer to bees when they forage. The chemicals are believed to weaken bees’ immune systems.

The bee-colony collapse issue has created significant interest, in part because insect pollinators are a critical component of agriculture and food industry.

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