Neonics in honey samples

Simon Rowell

A new study has found traces of neonicotinoids (chemicals in 75% of the honey samples from all over the world.

The scientists say that the Level of the most used pesticides are far below the maximum permissible levels in food for the people.

In a third of the honey that was found amount of the chemical was enough to be harmful to the bees.

Industry sources however noted the research says the study was too small to make concrete conclusions.

Neonicotinoids are considered to be the world’s most widely used class of insecticides.

Simon Rowell

These systemic chemicals can be added, such as a seed-coating, which for many plants, reducing the need for spraying. They were generally as favorable for the environment than the older products they have replaced.

However, the impact of neonics on pollinators such as bees, has long been a matter of concern for scientists around the world. Further studies have shown a link between the use of the products and a decline in the numbers and health of bees.

Earlier this year, a comprehensive field study to date concluded that the pesticides harm bees and wild bees.

This new study examines the prevalence of neonicotinoids in 198 honey samples collected in every continent except Antarctica.

The survey found at least one example of these chemicals in 75% of the honey, from all parts of the world. The concentrations were highest in North America, Asia and Europe.

Blaise Mulhauser

To find the European is a mystery, since it has a ban on the use of these products, since 2013.

The authors believe, however, that the finding should not be a concern to people who eat honey.

“It is well below the limit, so that I don’t think it is a serious health problem,” author Dr. Alexandre Aebi of the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, told BBC News.

“We have to eat a lot of honey and other contaminated products to a effect, but I think it is a warning and it is a call for a precautionary principle. Neonics have only to be shown that endocrine perturbators for the honey-bee, so who knows?”

The greater concern, according to Dr Aebi was the impact on bees and other pollinators. Approximately 34% of the honey samples showed the presence of neonics on a level that would be the bees harm.

Of particular concern to the authors of the cocktail effect, which was the mixing of two or more neonicotinoids in 45% of the samples.

“It’s definitely scary for honey bees and other bees and useful insects,” he said.

“We have up to five molecules in a single sample. From a risk assessment point of view, the risk assessment consists of a single substance in a test organism. So the cocktail is not tested. Mixed-effects should be taken seriously.”

Blaise Mulhauser

The scientists were not able to distinguish between organic and other honey samples in their research. Others in the field agree that the new study asks some serious questions about the far-reaching effects these chemicals have on all kinds of honey.

“Neonicotinoids are very persistent in the environment and is often samples in soil, water, and wild flowers, so we would expect to find in honey,” said Dave Goulson, professor of biology at the University of Sussex,, who was not involved in the study.

“All the landscapes around the world are now imbued with highly potent neurotoxins, which is undoubtedly a contribution to the global collapse of biodiversity. Some of us have already pointed out, for years, but only a few of the governments have listened.”

Industry figures are, however, critical of the study that it is difficult to draw conclusions, only 200 hundred samples.

“Apart from the sample size of the study is not large enough to be representative, the fact that a residue is found, is in itself a cause for concern,” said Graeme Taylor, director of public affairs at the European Crop Protection Association, representing the manufacturers of neonics.

“In terms of the results of the study in more detail, the reported residues are tiny and far below the human safety.”

The authors of the new study believe that is a permanent ban, as proposed, in France, is the best solution.

Dr. Aebi is an amateur beekeeper, and the honey was analyzed in the study. He believes that the restrictions on eating honey contaminated with neonics or not, are not justified in the present.

“My own honey was contaminated by three neonicotinoids, in traces, which I still eat, I admit it, my children.”

The study was published in the journal Science.

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