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Leaked Documents May Explain Bee Crisis

Did the EPA allow the widespread use of a pesticide that’s poisonous to bees despite warnings from the agency’s own scientists? And is this the cause of the collapse of bee colonies around the world?

The world honey bee population has been in crisis for several years, and theories as to its cause have ranged from viruses to cell phone towers to climate change.

But a document leaked from the Environmental Protection Agency reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from its own scientists.

The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds.

Clothianidin is already banned in several European countries including Germany, France and Italy. But sales of the pesticide topped $262 million in 2009 in the United States.

A full report is on the website Grist. And the full 101-page leaked document can be found here.