There is a steady stream of unhappy news for bees in recent years, with scientists often being called to study the problem and propose solutions; today was just another such news day. We have a particularly soft spot for bees, so these actions taken, reported from Europe, are welcome additions to today’s news:
…”This is a major turning point in the battle to save our bees,” said Friends of the Earth’s Andrew Pendleton: “EFSA have sounded the death knell for one of the chemicals most frequently linked to bee decline and cast serious doubt over the safety of the whole neonicotinoid family. Ministers must wake up to the fact that these chemicals come with an enormous sting in the tail by immediately suspending the use of these pesticides.”
Prof David Goulson, at the University of Stirling and who led one of the key 2012 studies, said: “It is very pleasing that EFSA now acknowledge there are significant environmental risks associated with these chemicals. It begs the question of what was going on when these chemicals were first approved. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was 50 years ago but we have not learned the lessons.”
However, Bayer’s Julian Little told the Guardian: “We do not believe the new EFSA reports alter the quality and validity of [existing] risk assessments and the underlying studies. [But] the company is ready to work with the European commission and member states to address the perceived data gaps. We believe it is very important that any political decision relating to registrations of neonicotinoid-containing products should be based on clear scientific evidence of adverse effects … and not on the basis of an over-interpretation of the precautionary principle.”
The chemical industry funded a report published on Tuesday claiming that banning neonicotinoids would cost farmers £620m in lost food production. But Goulson said the report contained “not a shred” of serious evidence.
A spokesman for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “This research will be examined by the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides and their advice will be considered by ministers. If it is concluded that restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids are necessary, they will be brought in.” The spokesman said the results of new government field studies were expected imminently…
Read the whole story here.