Dec. 22, 2017
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing preliminary ecological and human health risk assessments for these neonicotinoid insecticides -- clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran -- and a preliminary ecological risk assessment for imidacloprid, assessing risks to birds, mammals, non-target insects, and plants. Preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for these chemicals were published for comment in 2016 and 2017, and preliminary human health and ecological assessments (for aquatic species only) for imidacloprid were also released in 2017.
These documents are all being made available in the dockets in advance of the forthcoming Federal Register Notice that will open the public comment period.
Once the comment period opens, EPA is especially interested in public comment on the benefits for cotton and citrus, since previous assessments identified potential risks to pollinators. The EPA believes early input from the public will be helpful in developing possible mitigation options that may be needed to address risks to bees. Among the benefits identified, the neonicotinoids were found to be critical for management of Asian citrus psyllid -- which causes citrus greening, a devastating pest for citrus growers, and for control of plant bugs and stink bugs in cotton.
The Agency encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to provide comments on these assessments in the dockets linked below. The comment period begins when the Federal Register notice is published and will be open for 60 days. EPA may revise the assessments based on information and comments received. The Agency plans to release the final pollinator risk assessments and proposed interim decisions for these chemicals in mid-2018.