Sulfoxaflor and flupyradifurone more toxic to bees than expected

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New scientific information shows that Sulfoxaflor and Flupyradifurone, two new generation neonicotinoid insecticides approved in the EU in 2015, are more toxic to bees than initially thought. The Standing Committee on phytopharmaceuticals meeting of 3-4 December will discuss the future of these substances. While the Commission proposes taking action, some Member States are pushing to maintain these bee-toxic pesticides on the market, repeating a familiar scenario where Member States hamper the protection of pollinators...

Sulfoxaflor was approved in 2015 under the condition that the producer, Dow Agrochemicals (now Corteva) provide additional information on the risk posed to honeybees and wild bees. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessed the industry studies and published its Scientific Opinion in March 2019 [1]. In the meantime, a series of scientific publications [2] have established the toxicity of this substance on honeybees and bumble bees at field-realistic doses. Since spring 2019, the future of Sulfoxaflor was several times on the agenda of the Standing Committee on phytopharmaceuticals but no decision was yet taken.

Martin Dermine, PAN Europe Environment Policy Officer said: “The European Commission is proposing to ban outdoor uses of Sulfoxaflor, yet despite the clear evidence of harm caused by this neonicotinoid, Member States such as Ireland, Hungary, Belgium and Bulgaria push to maintain its outdoor uses.”

In parallel, Flupyradifurone, another new generation insecticide is on the agenda of the Standing Committee this week: evidence from Bayer communicated to the Netherlands showed that the product is 15 times more toxic to a species of wild bees compared to the tested species: honey bees.

Martin Dermine said: “As for Sulfoxaflor, the pesticide industry and the state of the Netherlands are trying to downplay the harm posed by these substances while scientific publications keep piling up on the dangers posed by this substance both to honey bees and to wild bees”.



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