Neonicotinoid insecticides have detrimental effects and require more efficient regulation

A new report by EASAC member academies confirms previous results about the detrimental effects of neonicotinoids and points out loopholes in the regulation.

The new report “Neonicotinoids and their substitutes in sustainable pest control” by The European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC) is focused on an area where the European academies together have had great impact in the past: pesticides and their use in European agriculture. Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides, chemically similar to nicotine, used in agriculture. The report was prepared jointly by EASAC academies. Professor Ian Hardy from the Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki participated in the working group that prepared the report.  

The first report by EASAC member academies on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in agriculture was published in 2015. The report suggested that widespread use of neonicotinoids has severe effects on a range of organisms that provide ecosystem services like pollination and natural pest control, as well as on biodiversity. Furthermore the use of neonicotinoids in agriculture not only burdens the environment but also the climate as the manufacturing and logistics of neonicotinoids are a significant source of agricultural emissions. 

– The new report confirms what the previous report suggested: neonicotinoids have detrimental effects on organisms, nature and biodiversity. General environmental contamination caused by neonicotinoids has adverse implications in relation to food production and global food security, states Professor Ian Hardy.

The European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC) is a cooperation organization of European science academies. The Council of Finnish Academies (CoFA) is a national member of EASAC.