Today, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released comments on recent findings that two neonicotinoid pesticides — acetamiprid and imidacloprid — may have harmful effects on people’s brain development. Concern over these findings has led the EFSA to recommend lowering levels of acceptable exposures to these pesticides in order to be more protective of human health, with regards to brain development and function. Earlier this year, citing unacceptable hazards to bees — and on the recommendation of the EFSA — the European Union put a two-year moratorium on the use of three widely used neonicotinoids, including imidacloprid.
In response to EFSA’s latest announcement, PAN’s Midwest Organizer Lex Horan released the following statement:
“It’s well known that neonicotinoids are a key factor in declining bee populations around the world, but today’s announcement from the European Food Safety Authority indicates that there’s also likely cause for concern for human health as well. Exposure to neonicotinoids may have harmful effects on brain development and function.
The European Food Safety Authority’s recommendation sheds light on the flawed process of pesticide approval here in the U.S. Neonicotinoids have been heralded as safer alternatives to previous generations of insecticides. But EFSA’s concern over the neurotoxicity of neonics is a reminder that there’s a great deal we don’t know about these systemic chemicals. They were hurried through EPA’s regulatory process with ‘conditional registrations,’ and scientific research continues to reveal more about their harmful effects — on pollinators and beyond. These important, common-sense moves in Europe should prompt EPA to do more to protect bees and kids from pesticides.”