24 January 2011

Neonicotinoid Pesticides: the modern-day DDT!

Rosemary Mason and Palle Uhd Jepsen wrote:

On Tuesday 25th January our MP for Gower Martin Caton will talk for 15 min to his Early Day Motion in Parliament about the Impact of Neonicotinoid Pesticides on Bees and Other Invertebrates. As of yesterday only 25 MPs had signed up to it. I think that now we need to inform all MPs. The new work in fact is not directly about bees, but about major environmental contamination with these chemicals, which persist in the ground and water. Dr Henk Tennekes in his book The systemic insecticides; a disaster in the making revealed official Dutch Waterboard figures to show that year by year (2004-2008) imidacloprid levels were building up in surface water in the intensively-farmed areas of the Netherlands. A Master's thesis from Utrecht by Teresa Van Dijk showed that as the imidacloprid levels increased between 2003-2008, so the flying insect density decreased.

Bayer CropScience, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the UK Chemical Regulation Directorate and Defra all say that these chemicals are "safe if properly used". Yet in the 20 years that these chemicals have been used, not one of these organisations has measured their levels in the soil, surface water or ground water. In fact the US EPA in 2010 actually suppressed their ecologists' report which suggested that ground water levels should be done. (See beekeeper Tom Theobald's account of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Mrm9Y6khk).

The neonicotinoids belong to a group of powerful neurotoxins, which Dr Tennekes has recently had confirmed by an expert colleague in Heidelberg on clothianidin and imidacloprid, cause a virtually irreversible block of certain pathways in the nervous system. Because they are hardly broken down in soil, as they continue to be used, they are building up in the ground water and will enter our food chain. Presumably initially it will affect the most vulnerable individual, our unborn foetuses etc, then us (if it hasn't done so already)

Michael McCarthy, in the Independent, has been a lone voice and we attach one of his articles from 20/01/11. Where were all the other newspapers, the BBC, ITV etc? The problem is that they think that the Agrochemical Industry (like the Banks) is too big to fail.

If our Protection Agencies and the Government cannot protect us, or tell us the truth, what can you/we as individuals do about this?

1. Email your MP immediately this weekend. If you don't know who he is, go onto www.parliament.uk . Go to the MPs section, put in your postcode, which will tell you who your MP is. Then go back to the alphabetical list of members, click on your MP's name and you will find his email address. Don't even mention bees, it might confuse him. Tell him that new work has shown that the neonicotinoids are massively polluting the environment and suggest that he/she go on Tuesday to support this EDM. We suspect he has not been informed about this.

2. Send this email round to all your friends and relations and ask them to do the same.Your children and the lives of your childrens' children depend on what you do about it this weekend.

The CRD is meant to be protecting People and the Environment. Instead they are (indirectly or unwittingly) protecting the interests of the Agrochemical Industry.

3. Stop buying the Provado range of products in your gardening shop. Three contain imidacloprid, and one thiacloprid. If you are a golfer, ask if these product are used on you golf course.They are destroying beneficial things that aerate the soil, break down leaves etc, and when there is rain, the chemicals are washed into groundwater.

This motion offers the only chance to stop these lethal toxins further polluting the environment. You have People Power. At the Oxford Farming Conference 2 weeks ago, Dacian Cialos the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, said "It is for the people to decide". In fact he was actually talking about GM crops. At the moment the Agrochemical Industry is ruling the world, but as you can see it doesn't care a toss for the environment or for biodiversity, only for its own profits.

Rosemary & Palle

1 comment:

Barry Stewart said...

Rosemary & Palle wrote:
It transpires that the Defra science is not quite so robust as Lord Henley had claimed. In 2009, Buglife had produced a review of 100 independent papers and scientific studies highlighting concern about the neonics and had asked the Govt to reconsider their position. Lord Henley had said that the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and the Chemical Regulation Directorate had reviewed the Buglife study. Yesterday, James Paice said that the Buglife report had been fully reviewed and advice taken from Govt agencies, with the conclusion that the report "did not raise new issues."

However, Martin Caton told MPs that the ACP had not reviewed the study and the CRD review of it was not finished! Despite this Defra had decided not to accept Buglife's interpretation of the science and continued to maintain that they had a robust system of assessing risks from pesticides in the UK.

When this was revealed, Mr Paice said "This is news to me".

Martin Caton said:

FINALLY . . . . . . . I would like to make some points for the Minister to respond to.
If he cannot do what I would really like him to do, which is to suspend the use of all new neonicotinoids from tomorrow, I request that he commit today, or in writing as soon as he can, to reviewing the new research that I have referred to, and to reconsidering the licences that have been granted.

I request that he withdraw the licences that allow neonicotinoids to be used on plants that produce nectar and pollen until the evidence is clear that they have no impact on the environment,

I request that he establish a national monitoring system for pollinators and pollinating rates.

I ask him to produce a formal response to the scientific papers to which I have just drawn attention, stating what concentrations of neonicotinoids are found in UK water bodies and whether the levels are routinely monitored.

I also request that he ask the Environment Agency to work with other agencies to undertake a review of those levels, commissioning research that would be scientifically robust enough to clarify any link between the pesticides and UK populations of wild pollinators.
A Government who aim to be the greenest ever cannot ignore a hugely significant threat to arguably the most important tier of animal life on this planet. They need to act; now is the time to wake up and smell the coffee.