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EPA evaluates pesticide for pollinator risk

Comments accepted through March 15 on draft pollinator-only ecological risk assessment for imidacloprid.

January 26, 2016

2 Min Read

The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the pesticide registration for imidacloprid focused on pollinator risk.

Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid insecticide used on a variety of crops, including vegetables, cotton, grapes, citrus, tree nuts and turf.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act requires registrations of pesticides to be reviewed every 15 years.


“Under FIFRA, a pesticide product may be registered or remain registered only if it meets the statutory standard for registration given in FIFRA . . .,” the Federal Register reads. “When used in accordance with widespread and commonly recognized practice, the pesticide must perform its intended function without unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.; that is, without any unreasonable risk to man or the environment, or a human dietary risk from residues that result from the use of a pesticide in or on food.”

EPA has prepared a draft pollinator-only ecological risk assessment for all registered agricultural uses, focusing on agricultural crops attractive to pollinators, and put the notice out for public comment. Comments are due by March 15.

After comments are reviewed, “EPA will issue a revised pollinator risk assessment and respond to comments and may request public input on risk mitigation before completing a proposed registration review decision for imidacloprid.”

With its registration review program, EPA strives to ensure that each “pesticide’s registration is based on current scientific and other knowledge, including its effects on human health and the environment.”

The preliminary risk assessment identified a residue level for imidacloprid of 25 ppb, above which effects on pollinator hives are likely to be seen and below which effects are unlikely. These effects may include reduction in numbers of pollinators as well as the amount of honey produced.

The imidacloprid assessment is the first of four preliminary pollinator risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides. Preliminary pollinator risk assessments for three other neonicotinoids: clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, are to be released for public comment in December 2016. ?

A preliminary risk assessment for all ecological effects for imidacloprid, including a revised pollinator assessment and impacts on other species such as aquatic and terrestrial animals and plants will also be released in December 2016.

EPA is also planning to hold a webinar on the imidacloprid assessment in early February. The times and details will be posted at:

Sources: Federal Register, EPA

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