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A Toxics-Free Future


Swiss and German chemical producers sue the European Commission over the ban on neonicotinoids.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe press release on the Swiss and German chemical producers' decision to sue the European Commission over the ban imposed on thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid. In April this year, following EFSA’s conclusions on the high risk posed by these chemicals for bees, the Commission banned these insecticides on many crops.

For years now, Syngenta and Bayer are campaigning to obtain an image of responsible industries, caring about the fate of bees and other pollinators 1 , 2 . But today, the pesticides manufacturers confirm their main goal, to protect their profit-making neonicotinoids insecticides: thiamethoxam (Syngenta), imidacloprid and clothianidin (Bayer). In 2012, Syngenta’s seed care sales increased and exceeded 1.1 billion USD. Thiamethoxam is a key substance in this financial
result3 .

In its press release4, Syngenta keeps trying to spread misleading information by placing biodiversity and pathogens as main causes of the bees’ decline while independent scientists have presented convincing evidence of the risks posed by neonicotinoids on bees 5 . Furthermore, Syngenta presents its product as “modern”. Neonicotinoids induce levels of toxicity several thousand times higher than DDT and are systemic. In fact, they contaminate pollen and nectar (the
plant itself has become a pesticide) as well as soils and waters. They spread and accumulate in the environment. Even rain contains neonicotinoids residues! Furthermore, use of seed treatment is everything but modern as it means every crop is systematically treated even though predators are not present in the field. Waste of money and environmental contamination!

Martin Dermine, PAN Europe’s Bee project coordinator said: “We strongly criticize the double speak of these companies: on one hand pretending to protect bees by sawing flower strips along fields and roads and on the other hand, destroying them by doing everything they can to maintain these extremely toxic chemicals on the market and protect their benefits. We agree with the chemical companies that loss of biodiversity is one of the problems troubling bees, but ‘forgotten’ is that these plant and animal losses are mainly caused by the use of the pesticides from the same companies complaining about it”.

In July, PAN Europe has made a request for internal review to ask the European Commission to extend the ban on neonicotinoids to all crops in order to protect other pollinators than honey bees, such as bumblebees and solitary bees6.




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