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Neonicotinoids and Integrated Pest Management (Update)


Neonicotinoids (neonics) are a group of synthetic pesticides used to control insect pests. The most widely used pesticides in the world, neonics have courted controversy in the EU for over a decade due to concerns about their impacts on honey bees, other important insect pollinators and the wider environment. EASAC first looked into this issue in 2015 and concluded that a broader policy debate about the use and impacts of these systemic pesticides was needed. Since then, the EU regulatory landscape has changed with four out of five of the active substances that had been on the market for controlling crop pests now banned from outside use, and a new Green Deal for Europe agreed which includes new EU pesticide reduction targets. Despite these positive changes, Member States continue to use neonics by taking advantage of a legal loophole. At the same time, more evidence has emerged of their ecological and human health impacts with research demonstrating that their effects extend beyond fields of treated crops to include the broader landscape as well as marine and freshwater environments. In this context EASAC decided to update the 2015 report by convening a new group of European experts from across our partner Academies to review the most recent scientific literature on neonics and other similar acting systemic pesticides, to evaluate the state of the science on integrated pest management (IPM) and discuss the use of these pesticides in terms of Europe’s New Green Deal objectives – in particular its pesticide reduction and biodiversity protection ambitions. The report was published in February 2023. It supports the continuation of existing restrictions and of measures to minimise future use—especially to mitigate the threat to future food security from the continued decline in insects (including pollinators).

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