March 18, 2019
New petition from international consumer group SumOfUs calls on EU Commission to ban toxic pesticide Thiacloprid, that’s harmful to humans and bees, permanently
Last week, members of the European Parliament voted successfully to ban the neonicotinoid insecticide Thiacloprid, classified by the EU as a Cat. 1B reproductive toxicant and a Cat. 2 carcinogen. Despite this, the European Commission is still considering renewing Thiacloprid’s legal status, using a derogation to normal rules, under heavy lobbying by multinational pharmaceutical giant Bayer.
Bayer’s lobbying attempts coincide with the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) publishing a risk assessment regarding the pesticide last week, stating a clear rationale for why Thiacloprid should be banned.
In response, SumOfUs, an international consumer group, has started a new petition calling for a total European ban on Thiacloprid, following a ban in France, because of its risks to farmworkers and wildlife. The petition has garnered over 40,000 signers to date.
This Friday, March 22nd, representatives of European Agriculture Ministers will meet at the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (ScoPAFF) to deliberate Thiacloprid’s relicensing.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Thiacloprid poses a grave danger to human health, as it “may damage fertility and the unborn child,” most likely through an endocrine mode of action. This result alone is sufficient to ban the substance, according to EU law.
Regarding environmental impacts, EFSA cannot rule out Thiacloprid as a danger to bees without performing a full risk assessment, using its 2013 Bee Guidance Document, which the agency also applied neonicotinoid pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam.
In its report, EFSA noted that “in the area of ecotoxicology, no critical areas of concerns were identiﬁed. However, the risk assessment for birds and mammals from the relevant plant metabolites, the risk assessment for aquatic organisms, the risk assessment for bees and the risk assessment for terrestrial non-target plants could not be ﬁnalised.”
Off the back of the EFSA assessment, SumOfUs campaigners say that national governments and the European Commission must support an EU-wide ban of Thiacloprid, rejecting Bayer’s request for a derogation and that the ban must be implemented as fast as possible.
“Any pesticide that puts farm workers’ reproductive health at risk, or that is a known carcinogen, has no place on Europe’s fields,” said Rebecca Falson, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs. ”What’s worse, this neonicotinoid pesticide hasn’t been properly assessed for its risk to bees. The Commission’s consideration to license the toxic pesticide Thiacloprid at the hands of a multinational corporation like Bayer makes a mockery of the EU’s safety standards; we will not allow that to happen on our watch.”
# # #
SumOfUs.org is a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.