Global Review of Pesticides shows extent of threat from neonicotinoids PDF Print E-mail
A new report released today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) confirms harm to bees from neonicotinoid insecticides and suggests the risks may be far broader.

The IUCN's Worldwide Integrated Assessment reviewed 800 studies covering birds, animals, soil and water as well as bees. The conclusions are startling:  neonicotinoids pose a major threat to a wide range of invertebrate species in soil, vegetation, aquatic and marine habitats. The authors recommend a complete global phase-out of neonicotinoid use, or at least a significant reduction.

The independent scientists making up this IUCN task force have undertaken the most comprehensive assessment of the scientific literature on systemic pesticides to date. Their conclusions should be listened to and acted on: that there are serious risks not only to pollinators but to a range of other invertebrates, many of which, such as earthworms, are key players in delivering the ecosystem services on which we all depend.

The authors highlight how the trace levels of systemic pesticides now widespread in water, soil and air can build up to long term harm to invertebrates and grain-feeding vertebrates at the individual and population levels. Policy makers and the food and farming sectors should reflect seriously on the implications of the task force findings: that we need to completely rethink today’s ‘insurance’ attitude to systemic pesticides and return to the principles of Integrated Pest Management, based on sound agroecological science.

Nick Mole of Pesticide Action Network UK commented:

"This important report from the IUCN makes it clear that those that have been concerned about the effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators have been right to be concerned and we find it incredulous that Defra and the NFU have consistently towed the pesticide manufacturers line in claiming that these bee toxic pesticides present no threat to the world's pollinators"

The Worldwide Integrated Assessment was produced by an independent Task Force on Systemic Pesticides and is the most comprehensive review of evidence on neonicotinoids to date. The Bee Coalition will be urging the Westminster government to take account of its conclusions in the upcoming National Pollinator Strategy for England, expected in autumn 2014.

24 June 2014
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