Tuesday, December 24, 2013

EU finds human harm from neonics

Two neonicotinoid seed-treatment pesticides could harm fetuses, says a new report from the European Union.

But Canadian officials say our standards are already below those recommended by the European research team.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are under intense pressure because beekeepers are certain they are contributing to the death of bees.

The pesticides are popular as seed treatments, particularly for corn.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has them under review and has already said current practices are “not sustainable.”

The Ontario corn industry has been responding with promises to reduce the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and to change management practices, such as using additives that will reduce the likelihood that the pesticides will be wafted away like dust.

A study by the European food safety agency indicates that acetamiprid and imidacloprid neonicotinoids might harm a fetus’s developing nervous system much as happens with exposure to nicotine.

The study says the chemicals could affect memory, learning ability and motor use.

On that basis, the study recommends lower human exposure standards for the chemicals.

The Toronto Star reports that a Health Canada officials says Canada’s tolerance levels are already lower than those proposed by the European food-safety agency.