Neonicotinoids in the dock


The long-term effects of chemical agents widely used in food crops, are the subject of a legal challenge being taken by a scientist in the US.

Neonicotinoids in the dock

  • ADDED
  • 4 years ago

The long-term effects of chemical agents widely used in food crops, are the subject of a legal challenge being taken by a scientist in the US.

The long-term effects of chemical agents widely used in food crops, are the subject of a legal challenge being taken by a scientist in the US. Jonathan Lundgren has been given the go-ahead to proceed with a whistle-blower complaint, claiming his work was impeded for publicising links between neonicotinoids and bee deaths.

In December, a judge ruled the case was 'non-frivolous' after Lundgren's employers, the US Department of Agriculture, objected to the action. Lundgren worked 11 years with the USDA. According to his testimony, research results showed 'the adverse effects of certain widely used pesticides, findings which have drawn national attention as well as the ire of the agricultural industry.'

Neonicotinoids are neuro-active insecticide agents, widely used for pre-emergence in treated seed as well as in post-emergence pest control. Three types have been subject to EU restrictions since 2013, due to links with pollinator decline, though UK authorities partially rescinded that ban after farmer lobbying last year. Drastic bee losses led to that temporary ban, but mounting evidence suggests that toxicity from neonicotinoids can build up in soils and watercourses, affecting a larger range of insects than previously thought.

Insect-eating birds are affected as well, including Swallows, Yellowhammers, and Stonechats. Use of neonicotinoids in Ireland is still widespread, despite the EU ban. This is because only three specific types were restricted. A study that linked bird decline with neonicotinoid use, published in the journal 'Nature', concluded:

'Our results on the declines on bird populations suggest that neonicotinoids pose an even greater risk than has been anticipated. Cascading trophic effects deserve more attention in research on the ecosystem effects of this class of insecticides and must be taken into account in future legislation.'

Neonicotinoids Table (courtesy of Wikipedia):

Name

Company

Products

Turnover in million US$ (2009)

Imidacloprid

Bayer CropScience

Confidor, Admire, Gaucho, Advocate

1,091

Thiamethoxam

Syngenta

Actara, Platinum, Cruiser

627

Clothianidin

Sumitomo Chemical/Bayer CropScience

Poncho, Dantosu, Dantop

439

Acetamiprid

Nippon Soda

Mospilan, Assail, ChipcoTristar

276

Thiacloprid

Bayer CropScience

Calypso

112

Dinotefuran

Mitsui Chemicals

Starkle, Safari, Venom

79

Nitenpyram

Sumitomo Chemical

Capstar, Guardian

8

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