EU Agrees on Total Ban on Bee-Harming Pesticides

Calling it a mistake to have approved them in the first place, the European Union is banning toxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids. The ban covers three pesticides that are used not only for commercial agricultural purposes, but for many other consumer outdoor uses; the poisons are blamed for killing millions of honeybees and wild bees throughout the world. Almost 5 million people signed a petition campaigning for the ban, The Guardian said.

Neonicotinoid pesticides, which are widely used in intensive agricultural operations, have been implicated in the decline of bees, particularly in commercially bred species like honeybees and bumblebees, as well as in wild bees and butterflies, for years. Overall, studies show that about 50 percent of the total decline in wild bees is linked to the pesticide.

Coupled with other pesticides such as atrazine and glyphosate, the ramifications from the devastation that has occurred due to intensive, industrial agriculture are no longer deniable. In fact, a 2017 study published in PLOS One looking at total flying insect biomass over a period of 27 years in 63 protected areas in Germany showed a 76 percent decline in flying insects over a period of 27 years in that country alone.

But if you think this ends with wildlife, think again: According to the latest pesticide residue report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 85 percent of the more than 10,000 samples they tested contained pesticide residues — substances that YOU are eating and ingesting without even knowing it.

If you want to help stop the poisoning of the Earth like this, going organic and refusing to purchase genetically engineered foods that utilize pesticides can reduce your pesticide exposure. If you must choose between which products to purchase organic, I recommend prioritizing organic animal foods and then using the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) "Dirty Dozen" list for produce, which are among the most heavily contaminated with pesticides and therefore the most important plant foods to buy organic.

For the nonorganic produce you consume, washing with a solution of baking soda may help to remove some of the pesticides on the surface of the fruit or vegetable, although it won't remove chemical residues that have penetrated beyond the peel. Also, be part of the solution. Speak up like Europeans did and demand that use of these pesticides be stopped where you live, too.

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