A new study has found that a number of commonly used pesticides are far more dangerous to humans than we have been led to believe. The study undertaken by a team in France1 looked at nine pesticides, three fungicides, insecticides and herbicides, including two neonicotinoids and Roundup, the most frequently used pesticide worldwide.
There were nine chemicals tested in total
Three fungicides - Maronee (Tebuconazole), Opus (Epoxiconazole) and Eyetak (Prochloraz)
Three herbicides - Roundup GT+ (Glyphosate), Matin EL (Isoproturon) and Starane 200 (Fluroxypr (ester 1-methylheptyl)
Three insecticides - Pirimor G (Pirimcicarb), Confidor (Imidacloprid) and Polysect Ultra (Acetamiprid)
Pesticides contain two types of chemicals, the ‘active ingredient' which is tested during the regulation process, and adjuvants, chemicals added to the product which the pesticide companies call '‘inert'. These ‘inert' chemicals change the effect of other ingredients and so are added to increase the efficiency of the overall product, however the combined product is often not tested.
1000 times more toxic
The study compared the toxicity on human cells of the active ingredient to the overall product used by the consumer. They found that 8 out of 9 products were up to one thousand times more toxic than the approved active ingredients with Roundup being one of the most toxic.
Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, Buglife's Campaigns Officer said, "There is a serious problem if the end product hasn't been properly tested. If we don't even know what these pesticides can do to humans, it's impossible to understand their effect on other wildlife and the environment. This has been flagged up in other studies but still hasn't been addressed".
Last year, the European Commission restricted the use of three of the five neonicotinoids approved for use in the European Union. The remaining two were deemed less dangerous and were not reviewed, even though a study in 2004 had shown that they became over a thousand times more toxic to bees when used with common fungicides, which often happens when crops are sprayed.
Neonicotinoids have been the focus of many recent studies published in respected journals such as Nature and Science. Even small amounts of the chemical have been found to have ‘sub-lethal' and even deadly effects on wildlife. Studies have found that levels in water systems have been high enough to significantly reduce aquatic invertebrate numbers, small doses can increase the susceptibility of bumblebees and honeybees to diseases, and can wipe out other beneficial invertebrates, such as beetles and ladybirds, which feed on and help control pest species found in farmland.
1 Mesnage, R, N Defarge, J Spiroux de Vendômois, and G-E Séralini. 2014. Major pesticides are more toxic to human cells than their declared active principles. BioMed Research International 2014 Article ID 179691
About Bug life
Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust - is the only charity in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, and is actively working to save Britain's rarest bugs, bees, butterflies, ants, worms, beetles and many more fascinating invertebrates. To find out more about Buglife's campaign on neonicotinoids please click on the link below www.buglife.org.uk/neonics
Enjoying our posts? Want to keep in touch with our most popular pages on this website? Sign up for our FREE monthly eNewsletter. You can also download an issue of Permaculture magazine totally free of charge HERE.