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article imageCommonly used pesticide may harm birds

By Tim Sandle     Apr 20, 2013 in Environment
A new report suggests that a commonly used class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids or neonics, may be more harmful to birds than previously though.
The argument comes from a new report by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). The report also indicates that neonics may also harm bees and other pollinating insects. Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine. They were first used during the 1980s.
The risk is present because seeds used to grow crops like corn, sunflowers and canola are routinely coated in neonicotinoids, which then spread through plants as they grow. It then follows that many species of birds eat seeds.
According to the report: "Regulators have approved more and more neonicotinoid products for an ever-growing number of uses without regard to the red flags raised by their experts concerning this persistent, cumulative, irreversibly-acting new class of pesticides."
According to Wired, the report also argues that the U.S, Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) guidelines for exposure to the pesticide are flawed. This is because the random tetsing carried out by the agency is not seen as being sensitive enough.
The ABC published its review of 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act,
Recently, the Guardian reports, a group of beekeepers and environmental groups have sued the EPA, which now plans to review evidence of neonicotinoid harms.
On this basis the ABC is calling for a ban on treating seeds with the pesticides and for other uses of the pesticide to be suspended until their effects have been independently reviewed.
More about neonics, Birds, Pesticides, neonicotinoids
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