Beekeepers and environmentalists sued the EPA last week over its approval of some of America's most popular pesticides, the latest salvo in an ongoing battle over products they blame for falling bee populations. NPR took a look this morning at the struggle over neonicotinoids, which show up in a huge number of crops, including corn. While they don't kill bees outright, two new studies suggest they damage bees' memory and learning abilities, the BBC reports, harming their ability to find food.
"The EPA should immediately take these two neonicotinoid pesticides off the market," says a member of one group involved in the lawsuit. But the pesticide industry is fighting back, arguing that the science isn't conclusive. In Canada's prairie provinces, "virtually all the canola is grown from neonicotinoid-treated seed," says an ecotoxicologist from a major pesticide seller. "And the health of bees in that area of Canada is as good as anywhere else in Canada." (Read more bees stories.)