As for neonicotinoid insecticides, the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) has officially recognized that fipronil (1) poses risks to bees, and that there are several information missing in the assessment dossier. For the European Beekeeping Coordination, it is essential to continue strengthening measures to avoid the use in the European market of toxic pesticides to pollinators.
EFSA’s reassessment report on fipronil, published on May 27 2013, has identified that this molecule poses a high acute risk to bees through exposure to dust produced from the sowing of treated corn seeds. EFSA shows that several data gaps impede a sufficient assessment of potential risks, associated for instance to ingestion of contaminated nectar and pollen, exposure to guttation water or honeydew – meaning that the assessment could not ensure that fipronil has no unacceptable risks to bees (2).
This new report on fipronil poses a similar statement than the report published by the EFSA in January 2013 for neonicotinoids (3) i.e. Risk assessment were not adequate, toxic pesticides to bees were placed on the European market, and the EU Regulation (EC) n° 1107/2009 on pesticides is by consequence not fulfilled.
Regarding neonicotinoids, this statement led to their partial ban (4). The European Beekeeping Coordination urges the European Commission and EU Member States to ban fipronil immediately as well.
It is essential for the EU to furnish all the efforts to update pesticide risk assessment for bees. They must be adequate and supported by independent experts. In parallel, a large swift in the agricultural model towards sustainable farming is essential. Farming must minimize pesticide use to the strict minimum, in particular preventive use of pesticides. This is the only solution to protect pollinators and the vital services they offer us.
(1) Fipronil is an active substance from the family of phenylpyrazole. Fipronil is found at toxic doses in food sources for pollinators. Fipronil is highly persistent in the food chain.
(2) Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment for bees for the active substance fipronil – http://www.efsa.europa.eu/fr/press/news/130527.htm
(3) Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessement for bees for the active substance clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam – EFSA (2013). http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/130116.htm
(4) The partial ban of neonicotinoids was voted on April 29, 2013 and adopted in the EU Offical Journal on May 24 2013
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2013:139:0012:0026:EN:PDF – http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-457_en.htm