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EU Announces Potential Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths, Environmental Collapse

Mike Barrett
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April 30th, 2013
Updated 05/08/2014 at 11:14 am
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insect bee flower pink 263x164 EU Announces Potential Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths, Environmental CollapseIn a major victory for environmental preservation, the European Union has announced a potential history-making ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to the death of bees worldwide.

As irritating as bees can be, everyone knows how essential these tiny insects are not only for flowers, but for the entire ecosystem and agricultural purposes at large. Unfortunately, the bee population has dropped dramatically over the last few years across the EU and the United States. There are multiple factors to consider, but one large factor is the use of bee-destroying pesticides. This is why the European Union has decided to heavily restrict the use of these pesticides on crops, despite being split on the decision among the states.

Despite 15 nations voting against the ban, EU rules allow for a designated ruling body to enact limitations on the use of neonicotinoids. The EU commission may now put into effect a 2 year restriction on neonicotinoids found in pesticides – the chemicals responsible for harming bees. Furthermore, the UK won’t have the option to opt of of these restrictions (even though they voted against a ban due to ‘inconclusive scientific evidence’).

“The European Commission will decide on the adoption of a proposal of restriction on use of 3 pesticides (nenicotinoids (NNI) – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) following vote in the Appeal Committee on April 29 2013 – where the proposal was supported by 15 Member States but did not reach a qualified majority,” a post reads on the European Commission website.

“The Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks,” said EU Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg ffter Monday’s vote. ”I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over 22bn euros (£18.5bn; $29bn) annually to European agriculture, are protected.”

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said Monday’s vote “makes it crystal clear that there is overwhelming scientific, political and public support for a ban. Those countries opposing a ban have failed.”

bee health EU Announces Potential Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths, Environmental Collapse

Indeed there is much scientific support for such a ban, or restrictions at the very least. One report published by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) in January concluded that the pesticides posed a “high acute risk” to pollinators, including honeybees. This is actually the report that sparked the commissions action on the pesticides.

Another study, led by biologists with the University of London, looked at what happened to bees in areas where different crops are sprayed with pesticides. All of the bees able to access the pesticides showed negative results. Colonies that had contact with imidacloprid (1 of the 3 neonicotinoids being restricted by the EU) were less likely to return to the nest after foraging. Also, the larvae in that colony was less likely to mature to adult bumblebees, suggesting the adult bees brought home the chemicals to the immature insects.

“Our findings have clear implications for the conservation of insect pollinators in areas of agricultural intensification, particularly social bees, with their complex social organisation and dependence on a critical threshold of workers,” said researchers.

Other research published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology journal notes that an increase in bee deaths began to be observed as neonicotinoids were put into use.

As research continues to come out linking neonicotinoids with the bee collapse, chemical companies and pesticide manufacturers continue to lobby the government with all of their might, arguing that the evidence is inconclusive and any ban would harm food production. They are obviously ignoring the multitude of studies linking pesticides with not only the bee collapse, but with the downfall of crop quality and human health as well.

Additional Sources:

PLOS One

About Mike Barrett:
2.thumbnail EU Announces Potential Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths, Environmental Collapse Google Plus Profile |Mike is the co-founder, editor, and researcher behind Natural Society. Studying the work of top natural health activists, and writing special reports for top 10 alternative health websites, Mike has written hundreds of articles and pages on how to obtain optimum wellness through natural health.

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  • Teri

    I spoke to two international friends last week, one from Israel and one from Switzerland and I am jealous in that their countries do not market this poison.

  • chrissyB

    I, like millions of others, consider the European Union to be utterly corrupt (you only need to look at the financial and political situations in Greece, Cyprus or Italy to see the evidence). I'm a UK resident and I can assure overseas readers that millions of people in the UK are VERY concerned about bees. It's rare for the EU to do anything right and only time will tell as regards how long they keep this pesticide ban in place….money talks and money always seems to win; there are too many vested interests all the time that dominate proceedings and try to bend things their way, for their benefit…..certainly not for bees.

    The UK's vote against the ban does not necessarily represent the views of the greater part of the population.

  • squodgy

    Wouldn't it be lovely?

    Sadly all they've done is put it on ice for review in a year or so, which of course allows Bayer, Monsatan, Singenital et al to get together, re-group and change tactics.

    It would be nice if the bureaucrats in the EU were corruption proof, but history says otherwise, so we must think on our feet to ensure those who make the decision know we are watching.