EU to ban fipronil to protect honeybees

A widely used insect nerve agent that harms bees will be banned from use on corn and sunflowers in Europe from the end of 2013, after member states overwhelmingly backed the proposal in a vote on Tuesday. However, the UK once again failed to back measures to restrict pesticide use.

Fipronil is used in more than 70 countries and on more than 100 different crops, but in May the European Food Safety Authority labelled it a “high acute risk” to honeybees. A similar assessment by the EFSA on three other neonicotinoid insecticides, based on increasing scientific evidence of harm, also preceded the suspension of their use in the European Union in April…

Bees and other pollinators are essential in the growing of three-quarters of the world’s crops, but have seen serious declines in recent decades due to habitat loss, disease and pesticide use. In Tuesday’s vote, only the UK, Slovakia and the Czech Republic abstained and only Spain – the biggest user of fipronil – and Romania voted against. The UK was also one of eight of the 27 EU member states that unsuccessfully opposed the EC neonicotinoid ban…

Paul de Zylva, of Friends of the Earth, welcomed the “leadership” of the European commission but added: “Yet again the UK’s pesticide testing regime has proven to be unfit for purpose. It’s disappointing to see the UK government abstaining from another cut and dried opportunity to protect bees.”

Yes, you guessed it. Fipronil still legal in the GOUSA? You betcha.

Everyplace in this article where you see the initials UK you can substitute US.

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