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Beyond birds and bees, Neonicotinoid pesticides pose a serious threat to human’s health, as well as bees, birds and other beneficial insects

Neonicotinoid pesticides including acetamiprid and imidacloprid (that are responsible for deaths of millions of bees) are affecting developing human nervous system and may even harm developing brains of the unborn babies, experts at European Food Safety Authority say.   

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Neonicotinoids that kill millions of bees may harm human‘s health, especially brain development of children experts say, Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

While further research is being carried out, the experts want the acceptable exposure to neonicotinoids be lowered. According to experts at European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), “neonicotinoid pesticides could adversely affect the development of neurons and brain neural structures associated with functions such as learning and memory”. The researchers discovered that the newborn laboratory rats that were exposed to one of the pesticides known as imidacloprid, suffered brain shrinkage and weight loss, and had reduced nerve function.

Neonicotinoid pesticides including acetamiprid and imidacloprid are also known as neurotoxins and have been responsible for colony collapse of millions of bees, mainly in US and Canada.  

EFSA has called for reduction in the reference level of Neonicotinoid pesticides:

Although the European Union including Germany, France and Italy have banned neonicotinoid class of pesticides, the EPA and US Department of Agriculture have both failed to immediately ban these neurotoxins.

Recently, more than 37 million bees died in Canada after planting new round of GMO crops. According to the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), 94 percent of U.S. corn seeds are treated with either imidacloprid or clothianidin and since introduction of GMOs, the use of pesticides have increased by 500 million pounds.

Christy Morrissey, a biologist from University of Saskatchewan says that use of neonicotinoids is increasing on crops in Canada and the neurotoxin is contaminating the wetlands and having a devastating effect on other insects and the birds.

neonicotinoid-pesticides-neurotoxins-pose-serious-threat-to-human-bees-birds-insects“The impact on biodiversity could be probably bigger than we've ever seen before” says Christy Morrissey. According to Morrissey, more disturbingly, the chemical stays in the soil for a long time and in fact, in many farm fields in Canada, the chemical was detected in the water before farmers stared planting in spring time. “Neonics are very likely to be devastating to insects, since they are persisting in the water for months and in some cases years”, Morrissey said. "The longer that the chemical is in the water the longer the exposure time for the bugs. So they basically are being hit continuously with the chemical."

Beyond birds and bees:

According to a new report by The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, neonicotinoid insecticides are having devastating effects beyond birds and bees and are harming other species and beneficial insects. The report states that “neonicotinoids can negatively impact other beneficial insects including predatory and parasitoid species that provide biological control of crop pests and soil invertebrates that are critical to soil health”.

The report also indicates that despite the claim of biotech companies on how neonicotinoids are a safer option than other insecticides, neonicotinoids pose a major threat to sustainability of the soil, beneficial insects and other pollinators.

Virtually all non-organic corn seeds are now treated with neonicotinoids and these groups of insecticides have not shown to have any yield benefits and in fact, increase in use of insecticides have led to spread of superweeds, superpests and increase in new diseases in soil.

Many health advocates, researchers and scientists call for ban on neonicotinoids:

Last year, the American Bird Conservancy published a paper with title of "The Impact of the Nation's Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds." The data on the report was collected from Canada, California and the Netherlands. The report states that “concentrations of several of the neonicotinoid insecticides are high enough to be causing impacts in aquatic food chains."

The paper is written by Pierre Mineau who is a former senior research scientist specializing in pesticide ecotoxicology with Environment Canada, and an adjunct professor at Carleton University and the University of Saskatchewan. “It is clear that we are witnessing contamination of the aquatic environment at levels that will affect aquatic food chains. This has a potential to affect consumers of those aquatic resources, be they birds, fish or amphibians" says Mineau.

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Mineau also criticizes the US Department of Agriculture for failing to ban these neurotoxins. According to Mineau, "EPA risk assessments have greatly underestimated this risk, using scientifically unsound, outdated methodology that has more to do with a game of chance than with a rigorous scientific process."

Both the National Pesticide Reform coalition and the American Bird Conservancy and partners have shown serious concerns about the use of neonics and are urging the EPA to ban these neurotoxins that are having a devastating effects on the entire ecosystem including birds, bees,  beneficial insects, soil sustainability and human’s health.

Bayer and Syngenta who make billions of dollars from manufacturing neonicotinoids are lobbying to prevent neonicotinoids ban in US and have sued the European Commission for banning these classes of pesticides:

Giant biotech Bayer and Syngenta who manufacture neonicotinoids are spending millions of dollars lobbying to prevent the ban on neonicotinoids and they have sued the European Commission for banning these insecticides.

More and more studies are showing the devastating effect of neonics on the nervous system of bees, birds and human beings. Yet biotech corporations including Bayer and Syngenta have usefully posted thousands of fake documents all over the internet misleading everyone that neonicotinoids are perfectly safe and other problems including lack of biodiversity and increase in pathogens are the main causes behind bees’ decline.

"We are surprised that EFSA has taken a decision to recommend changes to the regulatory assessment of imidacloprid based on a set of simple cell culture experiments, when they had previously informed their views on this compound based on more realistic and comprehensive studies that had been submitted and accepted by EFSA," a Bayer spokesman said.

Ignorance isn't bliss, it's constitutional:

Real Raw Honey made from honeybees is considered a superfood and it's highly valued for its unique nutritional properties. Honey is a great source of antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-cancerous and yet in US and Canada millions of honeybees are dying because GMO corn treated with toxic insecticides and chemicals like neonicotinoids banned in the entire EU.

87% of plants are pollinated by bees and the scientific community and biologists suggest that if honeybees disappear, we will only have few more years to live since a chain reaction will start to eradicate certain species due to lack of pollination and will effects crops and birds and so forth. However, just in 2012, Syngenta’s sales of Thiamethoxam increased and exceeded to more than one billion dollars. How could that be and how could we as a society tolerate what these corporations do?

Sources:

http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/XercesSociety_CBCneonics_sep2013.pdf

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/pesticide-contaminating-prairie-wetlands-scientist-1.2482082

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/131217.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/17/bee-pesticides-harmful-children