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Hidden Emails Reveal Pesticide Conspiracy

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

neonicotinoid pesticides

Story at-a-glance -

  • Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides worldwide and have been implicated in bee deaths
  • An exposé by The Intercept, which obtained lobbying documents and emails, revealed an extensive playbook used by the pesticide industry to downplay the pesticides’ harms by influencing beekeepers, regulators and academia
  • Entomologists Dennis vanEngelsdorp, now a chief apiary inspector in Pennsylvania, and Jeffrey Pettis, a former USDA government scientist, were among the first to suggest a link between neonicotinoids and bee deaths
  • vanEngelsdorp later reversed his stance and became tied to the pesticide industry, spinning their stance that Varroa mites, not pesticides, were to blame
  • Pettis also experienced industry pressure to speak only about Varroa mites; his career was suddenly derailed after he presented testimony about neonicotinoids before the House Agriculture Committee in 2014 and didn’t stick to “the script”

As explained by the Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies, “neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world.” If you were to visit a conventional farm, you’d likely see evidence of their use in the form of brightly colored red corn seeds and blue soybean seeds, which are color-coded to denote treatment with neonicotinoids.

The majority of such seeds come pretreated with the chemicals to ward off insect pests, but in so doing they’re harming pollinators like bees at alarming rates.


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