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August 15, 2013

EPA updates bee pesticide rules

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it has developed new labels that prohibit use of some pesticide products where bees are present. The pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, will have a bee advisory box and icon. They will require information on exposure as well as spray drift precautions.

Researchers are continuing to examine bee declines and what role pesticides might play.

“Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides," said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a statement. "The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts."

The changes were announced a day after the Pesticide Research Institute issued a report that found that seven of 13 types of garden plants purchased at top retailers contained neurotoxic pesticides that could harm or kill bees and other pollinators.

Researchers looked for the presence of such pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, in plants at garden centers in Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area and Minneapolis. The study was co-authored by the Pesticide Research Institute and the environmental organization Friends of the Earth.

The report found neonicotinoids in more than half the bedding plants, tomatoes and squash, said the lead author of the report, Susan Kegley, a California beekeeper who’s the CEO of Pesticide Research Institute.

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