Viewpoint: Why does US still use neonicotinoid insecticides when they’re banned in Europe?

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Seeds treated with neonicotinoid insecticides. Image source: The Farmer

In late April, the European Union banned a blockbuster trio of neonicotinoid insecticides, marketed by chemical giants Syngenta and Bayer. The decision, motivated by mounting evidence of harm to bees exposed to the chemicals, entrenches a temporary moratorium the EU placed on them back in 2013.

Here in the United States, use of neonicotinoids continues unabated. They’re widely applied to corn, soybean, and cotton seeds before planting. The chemicals suffuse the resulting plants, including their pollen and nectar, poisoning crop-chomping insects.

The EPA’s website currently states that the agency “is not proposing any mitigation”—i.e., limits on neonic use—”at this stage.” I have made a query to an EPA spokesperson seeking updates on the agency’s slow-motion reassessment, and I’ll update this post if I hear back.

Related article:  Monsanto v. Monarch butterflies

Meanwhile, research uncovering the potential unintended effects from neonics continues to pile up. The pesticides are showing up at high levels in the Great Lakes and are likely harming songbirds, as well as bees. Perhaps most troublesome of all for the companies that make them, recent studies have found that neonics don’t seem to boost yields for either corn or soybean growers.

Read full, original post: Europe Just Banned the Chemicals That Lay Waste to Honeybees. But They’re Still Everywhere in the US

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