Earlier today, a report published by the American Bird Conservancy called for a suspension on neonicotinoids, a group of toxic insecticides which have been shown to kill pollinators such as honeybees and bumblebees.
19th March 2013
The report identified that the regulations which agree the use of these pesticides has severely underestimated the toxicity to birds. Just one neonicotinoid treated seed can kill a songbird, and one tenth of that dose can affect reproduction. Over 200 independent scientific studies were reviewed, and the report recommends that a full ban is put in place for neonicotinoid seed treatments, and a suspension for all other uses until a full analysis can be undertaken.
Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, Buglife’s Pesticides Officer said “This highlights the poisonous nature of neonicotinoid insecticides, environmental concerns go well beyond pollinators. They can persist in the soil for many years, leach into aquatic ecosystems and affect birds and mammals. One of the reasons neonicotinoids are so commonly used is because they are promoted as being non-toxic to vertebrates, but this study shows that claim to be false”.
This report has been released shortly after the European Commission failed to agree on a proposed ban on three of the most commonly used neonicotinoids– imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin. Representatives from Member States met last Friday to discuss a significant ban after the European Food Safety Authority identified a ‘high acute’ risk to honeybees. However with five countries abstaining from the vote, including the UK, the ban failed to go through.
Vanessa said “The ban proposal will now go through the appeals process with the European Commission free to ban the insecticides unless Member States reach a compromise within two months. I am sure that the European Commission will take note of the recommendations of this significant report when making their next decision and enforce a robust ban”.