From: Genetic Literacy Project
David Zaruk is an environmental-health risk policy analyst based in Belgium specializing in the role of science in policy and societal issues. He blogs under the pseudonym: The Risk-Monger. Over the past two weeks, Zaruk posted two stories based on a leaked internal document from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which showed how, in 2010, certain scientists with confirmed conflicts of interest launched a strategy to manipulate public opinion and influence the European Union to ban neonicotionids (neonics), claiming that bees faced mortal danger.
Part I: Neonics ban tied to corrupted bee research by scientists at EU’s ethically-challenged IUCN?
December 17, 2014
From: Lincolnshire Echo
For any business to remain successful one of its main aims must be to produce more at less cost and agriculture is no exception.
Advances in technology must be embraced whether it is precision farming using GPS technology, better varieties of crops or indeed, for the non-organic farmers, improved solutions to weed, pest and disease control.
UK farmers growing oilseed rape in the 1990s saw the arrival of neonicotinoid chemistry in the form of a seed treatment.
December 15, 2014
From: Huff Post/Green
What’s the deal with the Bees?: originally appeared on Quora:
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Answer by Matan Shelomi, Entomology, Biology, Evolution
I [and pretty much all entomologists on earth] have been getting a lot of questions about the honey bees. “Are they in trouble?” “Why are they disappearing?” “How can I help?” Questions are fine, but what annoys me is when I get answers. “It’s obviously GMO’s!” “We must ban neonicotinoids!” “How do we stop the corporations that are killing bees?” Ugh. The problem is that journalism requires sensational issues and simple stories, and most people want to find a single answer for each problem. Biology doesn’t work that way, however, and the truth cannot be boiled down into a single headline.
December 12, 2014
HANK DANISZEWSKI | QMI AGENCY
LONDON, Ont. — There wasn’t much buzz at a public meeting organized by the Ontario government about the crackdown on a pesticide blamed for the mass die-off of bees.
The Grain Farmers of Ontario, a key player in the issue, is boycotting the meetings, saying a public forum does not provide an opportunity “for professional and reasonable discussion on this complex issue.”
“This (crackdown on neonicotinoids) will cost Ontario farmers $630 million a year … the research at this point is inconclusive,” said Barrett, the Tory agriculture critic and MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk.
December 10, 2014
Editor’s Note: For an early discussion of this issue from a Be Health Decline reader, please see here.
A leaked memo has sparked a tense debate about the impartiality of the science behind European restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides, widely blamed for killing honeybees. www.tinyurl.com/prroxt8
The June 2010 document was first revealed by a blogger on Tuesday then reported in yesterday’s Times under the headline: “Scientists accused of plotting to get pesticides banned”.
It appears to suggest that the researchers had already made up their minds before seeking evidence to support their opinions, and wanted to publish papers in respected journals in order to pressure governments to act.
December 8, 2014
Editor’s Note: The following article was highlighted by a perspicacious reader.
From: The Times (London) via The Australian
Ben Webster | The Times
RESEARCH blaming pesticides for the decline in honeybees has been called into question by a leaked note suggesting scientists had decided in advance to seek evidence supporting a ban on the chemicals.
The private note records a discussion in 2010 between four scientists about how to persuade regulators to ban neonicotinoid pesticides.
The EU imposed a temporary ban last year after the European Food Safety Authority identified risks to bees.
December 4, 2014
From: Roll Call Commentary
By John R. Block
For years now, farmers have been trying to fend off an EPA rule that would treat everything from run-off ditches to farm sloughs as “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act, hog-tying farmers in miles of red tape and allowing the agency to micromanage almost every action we take on the farm.
Now the EPA is preparing another startling regulatory overreach that could be just as damaging. While they haven’t announced it yet, every indication suggests the agency will soon impose new rules that ban certain uses of some of the most important crop protection products we rely on.
December 3, 2014
Editor’s Note: In its “Update on Neonicotinoid Pesticides and Bee Health” attached here, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency states that it is including data from growers and registrants as well as other stakeholders in its own economic assessment of the economic value of neonicotinoid-treated seeds for corn and soybeans. See below. The PMRA Update discussed the strong link between varroa and bee health decline, stated that “no conclusions” can be drawn at this time regarding any long term bee health effects from treated seed and explained the importance of additional research.
From: Health Canada/Pest Management Regulatory Agency
December 1, 2014
By David Schultz
As federal agencies develop a nationwide strategy to reverse a dramatic decline in the number of pollinator insects, a pair of recent public forums revealed deep disagreements among the issue’s stakeholders: beekeepers, farmers, environmental activists and chemical companies.
The forums were held in the Washington area by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture.
They cite competing evidence that indicates the biggest problem for the health of American pollinators is not the use of neonicotinoids but rather the infestation of the disease-carrying Varroa mite.
November 28, 2014
From: Science 2.0
By Jon Entine
Last week, in Part I of this two part series, “Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health”, we explored the claims by Harvard School of Public Health researcher Chensheng Lu, heralded by anti-pesticide and anti-GMO advocacy groups, for his research that purportedly proves that the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids are killing bees and endangering humans. And we saw how many journalists, our of ignorance or for ideological reason,s promote dicey science.
November 26, 2014