By vast

Published: June 7, 2018

Category: Pesticide Hazards, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

Neonicotinoid insecticides are implicated in dramatic losses of bee pollinator colonies, and the European Union has voted to ban the three primary ones effective the end of 2018. Eighteen member states, including France, Germany, Italy, and the UK, voted in favor.

“Authorizing neonicotinoids a quarter of a century ago was a mistake and led to an environmental disaster,” said Martin Dermine of Pesticide Action Network Europe. “Today’s vote is historic.”

The EU’s risk assessment agency, EFSA, reported in February high risk to wild bees and honeybees from outdoor neonic use—due to soil and water contamination. “Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment,” said Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Health and Food Safety Commissioner.

Over 75 percent of flying insects have vanished in Germany, causing some to warn of “ecological armageddon.” Nearly five million people signed a petition from Avaaz supporting the ban. “Citizens, the scientific evidence, and farmers [all] know that bees can’t live with these chemicals and we can’t live without bees,” said Antonia Staats of Avaaz.

The rule bans all outdoor uses, with the specific neonics allowed only in permanent greenhouses. Farmer Union and European Crop Protection Association   members lament the ruling, and say it will not measurably improve bee health, while hurting crops. Professor Nigel Raine of the University of Guelph noted the important balancing act within pesticide regulation: protecting against unintended consequences while supplying tools farmers need.

Commissioner Andriukaitis stressed the “consistency” of a decision based on science.

Source: The Guardian

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