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Pesticide Ban: Evidence Links Chemicals to Bird, Bee Deaths, Extinction Threats

Jan 18, 2017 09:34 AM EST

Scientists are petitioning to the European Union regarding an extension for the partial ban on the usage of neonicotinoid pesticides. This is based on the evidence that these chemicals are becoming lethal to partridges and can even stop house sparrows from flying.

New evidence shows that the controversial pesticide is linked to large-scale population extinction of bees. It should apparently be banned, a clamor that has gone stronger since a moratorium on its use has been introduced years ago.

According to the Independent, a paper by scientists at Sussex University as well as a review of the scientific studies since the EU restricted the use of neonicotinoid pesticide on flowering plants in 2013 showed that there's greater evidence that wild plants near fields of crops treated with the chemical are contaminated.

The paper, published by environmental campaign group Greenpeace, concluded that there are great evidence and risk that wild bees suffering from exposure to neonicotinoid may have sublethal but harmful effects. For example, some bees tend to forage less food as a side effect of its exposure to the harmful chemical.

The report also highlighted studies in different countries which reported a decline in the number of birds, butterflies and bees found in fields with neonicotinoid-treated crops. These pesticides, known as neonics, were thought to be safer than normal pesticides because they're usually used as a seed coating rather than being sprayed.

The Independent reported red-legged partridges dying within days after eating seeds coated with neonic. Others observed sparrows becoming "uncoordinated" and unable to fly. Japanese quails also suffered DNA damage after being exposed to pesticides.

Researchers Dave Goulson and Thomas Wood wrote that neonicotinoids have posed a great risk to wild and managed bees since 2013. The European Food Safety Authority is due to publish its own evaluation of the latest evidence on the pesticides this month but has delayed it later this year.

Greenpeace UK's chief scientist, Doug Parr, said the evidence points towards neonic pesticides posing a great danger to bees and other wildlife than when the EU ban was first introduced.

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