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Bee-harming pesticides found in honey

Call for ‘complete and permanent ban’ on neonicotinoids to protect bees
Bee-harming pesticides found in honey

New research, published in Science, found widespread contamination of bee-harming pesticides, neonicotinoids, in honey across the world.

Although many of the European samples were taken before the partial restrictions on neonicotinoids came into effect, the use of these pesticides has remained widespread across the EU, prompting the EC to propose an extension of the ban to all crops.

A ban on neonicotinoids

Sandra Bell, nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said that the discovery of bee-harming pesticides in honey samples across Europe ‘reinforces the need for a complete and permanent ban on these chemicals.’

‘Honey is a vital source of food to bees, not just a sweet treat for humans, so finding that so many of the honey samples contained a cocktail of these pesticides is a real concern – especially as scientists warn that exposure to a mixture of chemicals can be more harmful.’

Friends of the Earth nature campaigner

’Profound concerns’

Speaking about neonicotinoids following a speech in the summer where he outlined his vision for a Green Brexit, Mr Gove said new research had raised ‘profound concerns’ and that he was contemplating the need for further restrictions on their use.

‘This study adds to growing evidence of how much these pesticides contaminate the environment. Nothing short of a full ban will protect our bees. Michael Gove must back proposals for restrictions on neonicotinoids to be extended to all crops – and pledge to keep the UK free from these chemicals post-Brexit.’

Friends of the Earth nature campaigner

Public support

In 2013 three neonicotinoid pesticides were restricted from being used on flowering crops attractive to bees across the EU after it was revealed that they posed a threat to them. However, neonicotinoid-treated seeds are still widely used in other crops – such as wheat – and as a result are still entering the soil and water.

Evidence now shows that neonicotinoids used on crops like wheat can end up in wild flowers or flowering crops, thus posing an additional threat to bees – and that is why the European Commission now wants to extend the ban to all crops.

Last week a Friends of the Earth YouGov poll revealed that over three-quarters of the UK public (76%) think the UK government should support EU proposals to extend current restrictions on bee-harming pesticides to all crops.

Click here to read a Friends of the Earth briefing on the need for further restrictions on neonicotinoids

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