The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
European Agency Finds Insecticide Unacceptable Danger to Bees
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) yesterday presented its report which finds that the neonicotinoid class of insecticides poses unacceptable hazards to bees. The report concludes that certain crops treated with neonicotinoid chemicals—imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam—are of “critical concern” for bee health. Beekeepers and environmental activists welcome these recent scientific findings that they say support a U.S. ban on these chemicals.
According to Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, “The EFSA report confirms what we have been asking EPA to recognize. Clothianidin and other neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees, and should be banned by EPA and removed from the environment.”
In its investigation, EFSA, which was tasked with assessing the risks associated with these chemicals to bee colony survival and development, found that systemic contamination of neonicotinoid-treated crops and contamination via dust place honey bees and the hives they return to at high risk. Exposure to contaminated dust pose a high risk to honey bees for all three neonicotinoids used on corn and certain other crops, as well as exposure to residues in nectar and pollen. High risks were also identified from exposure to guttation fluid from corn for thiamethoxam.
EFSA considered acute and chronic effects on bee larvae, bee behavior and the colony as a whole, and the risks posed through various exposure pathways e.g. nectar, pollen, guttation fluid and soil, and found numerous data gaps that do not support the safety of these chemicals.
Clothianidin is of particular concern as the vast majority of corn grown in the U.S. is treated with the chemical, which is taken up by the plant’s vascular system and expressed through pollen, nectar and guttation droplets from which bees then forage and drink. Like other neonicotinoids, it has cumulative, sublethal effects on insect pollinators that correspond to Colony Collapse Disorder symptoms—namely, neurobehavioral and immune system disruptions.
Considering recent research has indicated that 9.5 percent of the total economic value of agricultural production for human consumption comes from insect pollination globally, the EFSA conclusion that neonicotinoids marks an important turning point in the pesticide dialogue. In 2012, beekeepers, Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Food Safety, and Pesticide Action Network North America filed an emergency legal petition with the EPA to suspend the use of clothianidin that is linked to honey bee deaths, urging the agency to adopt safeguards. The petition is supported by over one million citizen petition signatures, targets the pesticide for its harmful impacts on honey bees. The legal petition cites that EPA failed to adequately review relevant data to support the “no unreasonable adverse effects” standards for pollinators. EPA has failed to act.
Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images
By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.
Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
By Richard Denison
Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).
By Grant Smith
From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.
By Brett Walton
When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.
In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›