new study on Bayer pesticides imidacloprid an clothianidin (more info)
ECOWATCH, June 25, 2014
Scientists Release Landmark Worldwide Assessment Detailing Effects Of Bee-Killing Pesticides
Neonicotinoids threaten "heart of a functioning ecosystem," says report co-author
The Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA), issued by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, documents significant damage to bees and the environment stemming from the wide-spread use of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics). The report stresses that even at very low levels, neonics and the products resulting from their breakdown in the environment are persistent and harmful, and suggests that the current regulatory system has failed to grasp the full range of impacts from these pesticides. The authors analyzed more than 800 peer-reviewed publications before coming to their consensus.
The report will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research and will be released at events in Brussels, Manila, Montreal and Tokyo over the next two days.
“This report should be a final wake up call for American regulators who have been slow to respond to the science,” said Emily Marquez, PhD, staff scientist at Pesticide Action Network North America. “The weight of the evidence showing harm to bees and other pollinators should move EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to restrict neonicotinoids sooner than later. And the same regulatory loopholes that allowed these pesticides to be brought to the market in the first place—and remain on the shelf—need to be closed.”
“The science clearly shows that, not only are these systemic pesticides lethal to pollinators, but even low doses can disrupt critical brain functions and reduce their immunity to common pathogens,” said Nichelle Harriott, staff scientist at Beyond Pesticides.
Neonics, as described by the Center for Food Safety, are a newer class of systemic insecticides that are absorbed by plants and transported throughout the plant’s vascular tissue, making the plant potentially toxic to insects. Imidacloprid (Bayer)—followed by clothianidin (Bayer), thiamethoxam (Syngenta) and dinotefuran—first came into heavy use in the mid-2000s. At about the same time, beekeepers started observing widespread cases of population losses—episodes that lead to the coining of the term “colony collapse disorder.”
Over the past few years numerous studies and reports, as well as advocacy groups and beekeepers, have called on the EPA to suspend the use of neonicotinoids, even filing lawsuits and circulating legal petitions against the agency. The EPA has continually stalled and indicated that a review of the pesticides will not be completed until 2018. Meanwhile, the European Commission instituted a continent-wide, two-year ban on neonicotinoids that began Dec. 1, 2013.
“To save our invaluable pollinators, EPA, USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture and all Federal agencies must read this report and immediately implement regulatory remedies against the ongoing neonicotinoid disaster,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD, senior scientist for Center for Food Safety. “We know from recent studies that neonicotinoid seed treatments are generally not improving yields or even keeping common pests at bay. They aren’t serving farmers and they certainly aren’t serving pollinators. It is time to address this common route of exposure.”
The report looks beyond the harmful affects on bees, noting the far-reaching impacts of neonics on entire ecosystems, including contamination of soil and water, as well similar effects being displayed in butterflies and other pollinators.
Since 2006, beekeepers in the U.S. have been losing, on average, more than 30 percent of their bees each year, with commercial productions losing upwards of 50 percent. Last month, the USDA reported that honeybees in the U.S. are dying at a rate too high to ensure their long-term survival.
“The report lends credence to what beekeepers have been saying for several years,” said Jeff Anderson, beekeeper and owner of California-Minnesota Honey Farms. “Our country depends on bees for crop pollination and honey production. It’s high time regulators realize that applying toxins to plants makes them toxic to bees.” By Brandon Baker
Brussels, 24 of June 2014
New worldwide scientific analysis:
Systemic pesticides pose global threat to bees and biodiversity
For four years, 29 scientists, members of the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, have undertaken a worldwide assessment on neonicotinoids and fipronil (www.tfsp.info). The assessment pulled together 800 peer reviewed studies and confirms that neonicotinoids and fipronil are key factors in the decline of bees. The study goes a step further as its main conclusion is the significant risks of systemic pesticides neonicotinoids and fipronil to biodiversity and ecosystems.
Bee Life welcomes this independent assessment that clearly confirms the field observations and damages to honeybees that beekeepers have been claiming since 20 years. The study shows that the decline of bees reveals a much broader degradation which extents to a wide range of animals and habitats.
The study demonstrates that neonicotinoids and fipronil affect a wide range of living organisms. Terrestrial invertebrates, such as earthworms and insect pollinators, such as bees and butterflies are the most affected. These pesticides also have an impact on aquatic invertebrates, birds, fish, amphibians and microbes. Currently, there is insufficient data to assess the impact on mammals or reptiles.
As argued by Bee Life for a long time, neonicotinoids and fipronil are highly nerve toxic substances. They are persistent and accumulate in soils, sediments, water, treated and non-treated vegetations. Beekeepers have noticed that bees are exposed to contaminated nectar, pollen, water and dust. The study confirms the long-term and multiple sources of exposure of bees and pollinators to these substances. It shows that field realistic concentrations of neonicotinoids and fipronil adversely affect individual navigation, learning, food collection, longevity, resistance to disease and fecundity of bees.
The large-scale use of these pesticides is not sustainable. Such use can only result in a global decline of biodiversity, leading to a serious risk in the stability and balanced functioning of ecosystems, and affect ecosystem services, such as pollination, nutrient cycling and pest control.
Francesco Panella, President of Bee Life said, “For 20 years, honeybees have been a perfect indicator to alert us on the state of health of the ecosystems. This worldwide study confirms that the impacts of neonicotinoids and fipronil are much broader than the decline of bees. These systemic pesticides affect the whole ecosystem. Therefore, broader and global political actions must be considered. Politicians must ban the use of these substances in Europe and implement biodiversity friendly farming.