The EPA has released the results of a peer-reviewed study on the benefits of using neonicotinoid seed treatments on soybeans and is seeking public comment on the findings. Neonicotinoid seed treatments on field crops include Cruiser (thiamethoxam), Poncho (clothianidin), and Gaucho (imidicloprid).
The EPA study concluded that neonicotinoid seed treatments "provide little or no overall benefits to soybean production in most situations." Data from the study suggest there is no difference between soybeans treated with neonicotinoids when compared to soybeans that did not receive any insecticide treatment. The EPA report contains information on how neonicotinoid pesticides are used, alternative treatments available, as well as an economic benefits analysis.
EPA has opened a public comment period on its assessment. Comments must be submitted by Dec. 22. To leave a comment, visit http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0737.
The study's findings could play a role in federal efforts related to pollinator health, as neonicotinoids are among the possible causes of a declining pollinator population. EPA is planning additional studies to examine the effect of insecticides on pollinator health, and some environmental advocacy groups, as well as Members of Congress have urged EPA to restrict the use of these pesticides until more is known about their effects on pollinators.