The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran and also an update to its preliminary risk assessment for imidacloprid, which was published in January 2016. The updated imidacloprid assessment looks at potential risks to aquatic species, and identifies some risks for aquatic insects.
The assessments for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, similar to the preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid showed: most approved uses do not pose significant risks to bee colonies. However, spray applications to a few crops, such as cucumbers, berries, and cotton, may pose risks to bees that come in direct contact with residue. In its preliminary pollinator-only analysis for clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the EPA has proposed a new method for accounting for pesticide exposure that may occur through pollen and nectar.
The 60-day public comment period will begin upon publication in the Federal Register, which will happen soon. The EPA invites public comment on all of these preliminary assessments, but EPA is especially interested in getting input from stakeholders on the new method for assessing potential exposure and risk through pollen and nectar. EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received as well as additional data that we anticipate receiving during 2017. EPA hopes to release the final neonicotinoid risk assessments for public comment by mid-2018. Along with the risk assessments, the EPA is also issuing an updated registration review schedule for the four neonicotinoids to reflect the data being submitted in 2017.