Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

European Top Court Upholds French Ban on Bee-Harming Pesticides

Animals
A bee gathers pollen on thyme on a balcony in Paris, France. ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP via Getty Images

The European Court of Justice on Oct. 8 found that France did not violate EU rules when it banned certain chemicals considered harmful to bees.


The legal row between the French Crop Protection Association and France goes back to 2018, when the government banned some pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid group.

The ban placed France at the forefront of a campaign against chemicals blamed for decimating crop-pollinating bees.

With its ban on five neonicotinoids outdoors and in greenhouses, France went further than the European Union, which agreed to outlaw three in crop fields.

Opponents of the ban have said that it prevents farmers from protecting their sugar beet crops, which have been decimated by an infestation of green aphids. Sugar beet farmers argue that neonicotinoid chemicals are the only solution to combating such infestations.

A Ban 'Incompatible With EU Regulations'

The Crop Protection Association brought the case to court, arguing that the French decree was incompatible with an EU regulation on the family of chemicals.

The French government has since rowed back on parts of the controversial ban following pressure by beetroot growers.

However, on Thursday, the EU's top court ruled that France's initial ban had satisfactorily demonstrated the need to curb a "serious risk to human or animal health or to the environment."

Last week, the pesticides were at the center of a legal battle between the French government and the left-wing and green opposition, which accuses President Emmanuel Macron of neglecting to fulfill his environmental commitments.

On Oct. 6, the French National Assembly approved a proposal to give beetroot growers an exemption from the ban on the pesticides until July 2023.

France is Europe's top producer of beets used to make sugar and the sector provides 46,000 jobs.

Introduced in the mid-1990s, lab-synthesized neonicotinoids are based on the chemical structure of nicotine, and attack the central nervous system of insects.

They were meant to be a less harmful substitute to older pesticides, and are now the most widely-used to treat flowering crops. However, in recent years, bees started dying off from "colony collapse disorder," a mysterious disease partly blamed on the use of such chemicals.

Studies have since shown that neonicotinoids harm bee reproduction and foraging, while exposure also lowers their resistance to disease.

The UN has warned that nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction.

Reposted with permission from DW.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Rashtrapati Bhavan engulfed in smog, at Rajpath, on Oct. 12, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Biplov Bhuyan / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

An annual comprehensive report on air pollution showed that it was responsible for 6.67 million deaths worldwide, including the premature death of 500,000 babies, with the worst health outcomes occurring in the developing world, according to the State of Global Air, which was released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
New research finds that dust in buildings with older furniture is more likely to contain a suite of compounds that impact our health. Aleksandr Zubkov / Getty Images

By Hannah Seo

If you've been considering throwing out that old couch, now might be a good time. Dust in buildings with older furniture is more likely to contain a suite of compounds that impact our health, according to new research.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics, and a bunch of other things are known to be behind excessive weight gain. But, did you know that how much sleep you get each night can also determine how much weight you gain or lose?

Read More Show Less
Marine scientists who study seagrasses have published a study describing how to reintroduce eelgrass into Virginia coastal bays. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Robert J. Orth, Jonathan Lefcheck and Karen McGlathery

A century ago Virginia's coastal lagoons were a natural paradise. Fishing boats bobbed on the waves as geese flocked overhead. Beneath the surface, miles of seagrass gently swayed in the surf, making the seabed look like a vast underwater prairie.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Landmark legislation aims to address the ocean impacts of human-caused global heating and reform federal ocean management. ToryYu1989 / PxHere / CC0

By Jessica Corbett

Leaders of climate and conservation groups on Tuesday welcomed House Democrats' introduction of landmark legislation that aims to address the ocean impacts of human-caused global heating and reform federal ocean management—recognizing that, as Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva put it, "a healthy ocean is key to fighting the climate crisis."

Read More Show Less