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EU: Common Insecticides Bad for Bees, Bad for Human Health

European Food Safety Authority says two neonicotinoids may cause harm to the developing human nervous system

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Two commonly used insecticides may cause harm to the developing human nervous system, the EU warned on Tuesday.

(Photo: Kevin Krejci /cc/flickr) The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said that acetamiprid and imidacloprid, both neonicotinoid insecticides, "may affect neuronal development and function," and that acceptable exposure levels to them should be lowered.

Michele Rivasi, French Green MEP, gave a cautious welcome to the EFSA's announcement, saying, "Reducing the thresholds is not necessarily the solution."

"We must also ask the question about the effects of the whole 'cocktail' and the cumulative impact over time following repeated exposure," Rivasi said.

In April the EU voted to put a two-year moratorium on three neonicotinoids, including imidacloprid, after the EFSA found they posed an unacceptable risk to bees. That ban went into effect on Dec. 1.  Bayer and Syngenta, who make the insecticides, have since tried to frame themselves as stewards of bees, and have started a legislative battle to overturn the ban.