VIEWPOINT: Time For The EPA To Step Up
I appreciated your article “To Bee Or Not To Bee, That Is The Question” (July 19), which highlighted a pressing issue that we have failed to address for far too long: the unprecedented and alarming population decline of bees. Bees are vital to both our food system and national economy—they pollinate nearly one in every three bites of food we eat—so we must do all we can to end their extreme die-offs, starting with banning neonicotinoids.
As the article stated, numerous factors are linked to CCD, but research shows that neonicotinoids can weaken bees’ immunity to other commonly blamed factors, in addition to killing them off directly. Furthermore, neonicotinoids persist in the environment and can accumulate quickly, contaminating water and soil and endangering the species that inhabit these ecosystems. The bottom line is that when chemicals are this toxic to the environment and to such valuable organisms, they shouldn’t be used at all.
While the European Union and parts of Canada have recognized this and restricted neonicotinoids—which are 6,000 times more toxic than DDT—the United States has allowed them to kill off bees for years virtually unchecked. However, right now, we have a great opportunity to change this. The EPA is currently reviewing neonicotinoids, which only happens every 15 years, so we must call on them to speed up their testing and eventually ban these dangerous chemicals altogether. Failure to ban these bee-killing pesticides will have disastrous effects—after all, no bees means no food.
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