On the 3rd day of the Pesticide Action Week, EU Member States are gathering today in the Standing Committee on phytopharmaceuticals to discuss about the toxicity of neonicotinoids on bees. The European Commission’s 12 months old regulation proposal to ban neonicotinoids will, again, not be voted upon by Member States. The EU is here sadly showing once again the little ambition it has to effectively protect pollinators.
Tomorrow is the UN World Water Day (22nd March) and 3rd day of the Pesticide Action Week 2018. PAN Europe takes the opportunity to highlight the widespread pesticide contamination of European waters and the urgent need for decision makers to take action and finally protect our water supplies and the environment.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published today 3 reports on the new scientific findings on the toxicity of imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin (neonicotinoids) to bees. The Authority highlights that most studies show that neonicotinoids have a negative impact on bees’ health, from damaging their orientation capacity to impairing their reproductive ability. On 22 March, the European Member States will have the possibility to vote for a ban on neonicotinoids; hopefully these reports will contribute to a total ban.
In 11 out of 12 EU pesticide risk assessment methods studied by the Pesticide Action Network1 it turns out that they were developed or promoted by industry. Harmfull effects observed in animal safety studies on pesticides can be swept under the carpet with these methods.
Today, the popular initiative Sauberes Wasser für All (“For Clean Drinking Water and a Healthy Diet – Stop Subsidies allocated for Pesticides and Antibiotics for Prophylactic use”) was officially submitted to the Swiss Federal Chancellery in Bern. It proposes a total ban on synthetic agrichemicals such as pesticides in order to protect public health and the environment.
The protection of the health of Europeans as well as that of the environment from the harm caused by hormone disruptors remains a secondary issue for EU Regulators, as Member States confirmed today by voting in favour of the European Commission’s “controversial” proposal that sets the criteria for endocrine disruptors. The criteria risk failing to identify which pesticides effectively are endocrine disruptors and conveniently, will have little impact on the pesticide industry that places these products on the market.
The European Commission issued its formal response to the #StopGlyphosate European Citizens Initiative (ECI) . It officially recognised the submission of more than one million signatures on 6 October. Tuesday’s response is an answer to the ECI’s three demands for a ban of glyphosate, a reform of the EU pesticide approval process and mandatory EU targets to reduce pesticide use. The Commission proposed action that could fulfil one aspect of one of the three demands.
Alarming concern rises the assessment procedure given in the draft Guidance Document for the identification of pesticides and biocides that are endocrine disruptors (EDs) published yesterday by European Authorities. The document appears to have ‘come from the future’ as it presumes a very high level of understanding of the function of the endocrine system and of how substances cause endocrine disruption, which we currently don't have.
In December 2013, the European Commission restricted the use of 3 highly bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides, namely imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. On the 4th anniversary of the partial ban on these substances, new scientific knowledge confirms that these restrictions do not go far enough. Therefore, more than 80 EU NGOs are gathering to ask EU decision-makers to completely ban neonicotinoids without further delay.
December 3 is the anniversary of the worst peacetime chemical disaster in history. Twenty-seven tons of lethal gases leaked from Union Carbide’s pesticide factory in Bhopal, India on this date in 1984, immediately killing thousands of people and poisoning half a million others.