European attempts to say no to Sulfoxaflor, another systemic insecticide just authorised by the Comm
Bruxelles, 14 October 2015
On the 27 July 2015, the EU Commission and EU Member States agreed to authorise the release of a new bee-killing insecticide, Sulfoxaflor, onto the market, despite warnings from scientists.
The American Court of Justice recently revoked the EPA's authorization of Sulfoxaflor in the USA, because the EPA had failed to properly assess the risks which Sulfoxaflor posed for bees and beneficial insects. In recent days, the European Parliament began to debate its own unjustifiable authorization of Sulfoxaflor, with a vote being held yesterday.
Sulfoxaflor is a neurotoxin which is highly poisonous to bees; despite its known toxicity to bees, it is nevertheless authorised in many countries around the world. After it is applied, toxic residues of this pesticide persist in fruits and vegetables, at levels 2-6 times more toxic than the dose killing bees.
The studies included into the dossier provided by Dow AgroSciences, for the authorisation of Sulfoxaflor in Europe, have many deficiencies. Bee Life has identified many of these omissions and explained them to the Commission in a letter of 2013. Furthermore, the EFSA identified the high risks which Sulfoxaflor poses for bees and emphasised a large number of data gaps in the authorisation dossier. Despite these shortcomings, both EU and national authorities still granted provisional authorisation, until the producer fills these data-gaps.
Currently a number of initiatives have been launched to ban this pesticide from the European market. Bee Life sent a letter to Commissioner Andriukaitis, regarding the irregular authorisation of Sulfoxaflor, together with other deadly insecticides (chlorantraniliprole, cyantraniliprole and cyclaniliprole). Other organisations have also launched citizens initiatives. Yesterday morning a vote took place at the Environmental Committee of the European Parliament, in which Mrs Sylvie Goddyn tried to protect bees from poisoning by Sulfoxaflor. Even though the proposal did not succeed, discussions have at least started. Bee Life encourages the European Parliament to rapidly agree upon a clear proposal for the EU to legally withdraw systemic insecticides and to support the adoption of an improved, scientifically valid, Pesticide Risk Assessment.
Let us hope that all these efforts bring some relief: to Europe's endangered and poisoned bees, for a healthier environment and above all for human health and wellbeing.
Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination
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