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Organic Consumers Association

Scientists Link Mass Death of British Bees to Farm Pesticides

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Bees page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.
The authoritative, peer-reviewed research undermines the pesticide industry's long-repeated arguments that bees are not being harmed, and piles pressure on UK and US authorities to follow other countries by introducing bans on the chemicals.

Pesticide companies have been trying to protect their multi-billion pound businesses by lobbying internationally against bans on neonicotinoids, a group of toxic chemicals designed to paralyse insects by attacking their nervous systems.

Agricultural crops in Scotland, England and around the world are dosed with the chemicals to prevent insects from damaging them. But evidence has been mounting that they could be to blame for the "colony collapse disorder" that has been decimating bee populations.

The US has been losing one-third of its honeybee hives every year, while beekeepers in Europe say that more than one million bee colonies have been wiped out in France, Germany, Italy and the UK since 1994.

Although neonicotinoids have faced bans or restrictions in Germany, France, Italy and Slovenia, regulators in the UK and the US have so far accepted the industry's contention that the toxins were not poisoning bees.

But that view has now been seriously challenged by a new study from scientists at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. They found neonicotinoids in bees, in pollen, in soil and in dandelions, suggesting that bees could be contaminated in several different ways.


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