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MEPs acknowledge link between pesticides and bee declineqrcode

Dec. 25, 2012

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Dec. 25, 2012
MEPs have advised that certain uses of neonicotinoid pesticides should be banned or subject to strict controls in Europe as a growing scientific consensus that the chemicals are threatening insect pollinators.

In a policy document released this week, MEPs and authors from the European Environment Agency said that, although declines witnessed in insect pollinator species, most notably bees, are undoubtedly the result of a range of stressors, "The use of neonicotinoids is increasingly held responsible for recent honeybee losses."

The MEPs noted, "A widespread conclusion of different authors is that neonicotinoids can contribute to lethality even at low doses by making bee colonies more vulnerable to other disruptive factors. Recent scientific findings are urging for an update of the risk assessment of all neonicotinoid insecticides approved at European level and their effects on bees."

They said that a review, which is currently being carried out by the European Food Safety Authority on bee health and pesticides will give new insights into the issue and provide support in attempts to reassess EU regulatory guidelines.

Although the MEPs acknowledged that current risk assessments used in the EU are flawed in that they "do not consider the risks of chronic exposure to [to bees of] sub-lethal doses," they said "Further action on EU-wide level is not expected before this new assessment is available."

During an inquest into the UK government's response to studies released this year that link neonicotinoids with harmful effects on bee populations, the Environmental Audit Committee heard that over the past three years, 30 peer reviewed studies had linked the chemicals with adverse effects on insect pollinators.

France and Italy have both taken action to mitigate use of the controversial pesticides. In Europe, an estimated 80 percent of crops rely on insect pollination to some extent.
Source: Farming UK


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