TODAY7:56p.m. EDT March 18, 2013 Raasch,
American Bird Conservancy says EPA underestimated the risk of this insecticide
Industry scientist says studies show no ill effects on birds
EPA re-evaluating registration of pesticide
The American Bird Conservancy is calling for a ban on using one of the globe's most widely used classes of insecticides in seed treatments and for a suspension of all other uses, pending an independent review of its impact on birds and other wildlife.
The Bird Conservancy, one of the nation's most active bird-conservation groups, released a 97-page report Monday that says that independent studies of the damage to birds and aquatic ecosystems they depend upon for food raise "significant environmental concerns" and that the Environmental Protection Agency has been too lenient in allowing the use of this class of insecticides, called neonicotinoids.
Their possible role in the decline of honeybee populations in the
USA and Europe has spurred intense debate among scientists,
wildlife advocates and manufacturers, and the EPA is re-evaluating its
registration of this class of insecticide.
The EPA will "carefully consider the study results and conclusions cited in this report," and the agency's review "is not limited to impact on bees," said Jim Jones, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
He said the EPA "has accelerated the comprehensive re-evaluation of these pesticides in the registration review program due to stakeholder concern about the environmental impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides."
Manufacturers say the American Bird Conservancy report depends on suspect science, and a ban would be destructive to global agricultural production. Defenders say that neonicotinoids were created as safer alternatives to the pesticide class they replaced about 20 years ago.
Neonicotinoids have been in use for about two decades. The insecticides are sprayed or used to coat seeds, such as corn, to protect crops and control insects around the globe.