Posted March 1, 2014
Dear Respected Member of Parliament,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists (KWFN) and wish to state our concern about the use of neonicotinoids and their detrimental effect on wildlife. The KWFN is a non-profit association that promotes conservation and protection of significant natural areas and strives to educate its members on local natural history and conservation.
We have been witnessing a rise in concern over the widespread use of neonicotinoids on crop seeds, both locally and throughout the world. Their use has now been scientifically linked to the decline in economically vital pollinator bee populations but also other insects (Goulson, 2013) and even birds (Mineau & Palmer 2013). Even more critically, the mechanisms of how these neonicotinoids affect insects is being understood (DiPrisco et al 2013). Further, the persistence of these poisons in soil, and their solubility in water, combined with their cumulative and non-reversible effects on insects and other animals should be cause for extreme caution. Use is spreading to non-agricultural activities, such as ornamental flower production, and to retail pesticide formulations.
The European Union has been sufficiently convinced of the link as to impose a ban on neonics, despite the court actions of Syngenta, Bayer and BASF. As these companies produce, market and sell these insecticides, they have a strong profit interest in their promotion. However, to allow corporate interests to dominate over the health of wildlife, ecosystems, and ultimately ourselves is naïve and dangerous. We believe a precautionary policy of ‘Better Safe than Sorry’ is necessary in these circumstances.
The consequences of neonicotinoids go far beyond a reduced supply of honey at the local farmer’s market. Bees are critical pollinators for many agricultural crops, so their well-being is intricately linked to our own food supply. Even trace amounts of neonicotinoids impact these species. As for bird species that are higher in the food web, the potential damage to their populations makes an eerie comparison to DDT and its subsequent ban.
Please consider introducing or supporting regulations or legislation that suspends the use of neonicotinoids until we understand how to manage the risks posed by these products so that the health of our planet does not take a back seat to corporate interests.
K-W Field Naturalists
Following you will find four documents that relate to the concern raised in the above letter.
"First introduced in the 1990s in response to widespread pest resistance as well as health objections to older pesticides, the neonicotinoid insecticides quickly sailed to the top slot in global pesticide markets. Now the most widely-used insecticides in the world, it is difficult to find pest control commodities that do not contain one or several of the neonicotinoid insecticides. California alone has registered nearly 300 neonicotinoid products.
Neonicotinoids’ toxicity to bees and other insects has brought them the most attention so far and has dominated recent concerns of regulatory institutions worldwide. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency’s registration review of the neonicotinoids is focused on the threat to insect pollinators."
Neonicotinoids implicated in insect-eating bird decline, Ontario Farmer, January 2014.
An overview of the environmenttal risks posed by neonicotinoid insecticides, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2013.
Immuno Suppression by neonictinoid insecticides at the root of global wildlife delclines, Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology, September 2012.