EFSA Concludes Significant Risk for Bees while U.S. Continues to Take Comments

Neonicotinoids, or nicotine-like insecticides, are typically used to coat seeds to protect against insects upon planting.

April 13, 2018 - Author: Kris DeAngelo / Academic Specialist

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has confirmed that pesticides known as neonicotinoids are a risk to wild bees and honeybees. This new assessment by EFSA’s Pesticide Unit represents the most substantial analysis to date.

These neonicotinoids, or nicotine-like insecticides, are typically used to coat seeds to protect against insects upon planting. However, the pesticides are absorbed by plants and can be found in plant tissues, nectar and pollen. Research has shown that these pesticides affect bees and other insects by attacking the central nervous system, thus leading to paralysis and death. These pesticides also contain common veterinary chemicals used in such applications as flea and tick collars.

Three of these pesticides are currently subject to severe restrictions in the EU because they pose a health threat to bees. This new data will be presented to the European Commission and member states for potential amendments to current restrictions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the Public Comment Period until April 21, 2018, for comments on risk as well as benefits of some of these neonicotinoids. See the EPA’s website to comment. https://www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection

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