Bayer and Syngenta have separately brought to court a challenge on the Commission’s decision to ban the use of Neonicotinoids. This ban has been made on 2013. Since then the pesticide industry has been trying to get the ban lifted. On February 2017, a new episode has taken place in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Bayer and Syngenta have presented their cases to have the Commission’s decision to ban these dangerous pesticides recalled.
On 15 and 16 February, Pesticide Action Network Europe, Greenpeace and Bee Life have stood by the Commission’s decision on these hearings before the court’s judges. In a joint effort with several other NGOs and Beekeepers organizations, there has been a fight for the ban since evidence was found of their high toxicity and the damage they cause to environmentally necessary pollinators such as bees. The ban was a product of research and environmental protection advocacy. Even though this kind of dangerous pesticides were approved for use in the 2000’s they were later considered to be too dangerous and were banned by the European Union Commission on 2013. The decision to ban Neonicotinoids was taken after the EFSA presented their results to the Commission.
The Commission considered it necessary to apply the ban even before the approval met its deadline. The risks these products presented have been considered (and still are) as too high for the environment, taking into consideration pollinators’ important activities.
The Agro-Chemical industry has presented a case, as it may be paraphrased, not based on science but on rule of law and regulation. They have argued that the Commission has acted out of procedural parameters, expecting to have this important ban removed, to once again having a free the license to commercialize their products.
One of the main arguments from Bayer is that the Commission could only have made such a decision before the authorization’s deadline was met if there would be new information available. Even though such new information was provided, the industry argued that it was just a compilation of old information. However, EFSA, the designated expert organism to advice the Commission, had presented new information. Besides, some interveeners in the case have supported the Commission by stating that it may in fact retrieve any permission at any time after reviewing information and balancing the risks at hand.
Although Bayer and Syngenta presented a case based on the Rule of Law and not on science and evidence, they have tried to benefit themselves by presenting misleading information surrounding the evidence of the toxicity of Neonicotinoids on honeybees. Of such misleading arguments, these following can be highlighted:
-No causation nor correlation has been found between the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides and insecticides and hive-collapses.
-Neonicotinoids may be just sub-lethal for bees, which does not entail for a full ban.
-Experiments do not represent the reality due to administration and dosage methods not corresponding to those found in agricultural production.
-The Commission’s decision to ban Neonicotinoids has been unlawful.
-Neonicotinoids are safe for mammals. You can even drink it and you might only be concerned for the taste of it!
You can check our report on the Tactics Used by Agro-Chemical Industries to Impose and Maintain Harmful Pesticides on the Market