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EFSA conclusion on the risk to bees from neonicotinoids

EFSA has now updated the risk assessments to wild bees and honeybees for the neonicotinoids clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, which are currently subject to restrictions in the EU because of the threat they pose to bees, and concluded that overall the risk to bees from neonicotinoids is confirmed. However, EFSA also confirmed that they are not recommending an EU-wide ban of neonicotinoids since they act as a scientific risk assessment body and do not make decisions regarding authorisations of regulated products, as these are European Commission and Member State authorities’ responsibility.

According to EFSA, more than 1,500 studies and data from academia, beekeeper associations, chemical companies, farmers’ associations, NGOs and national authorities were considered for these assessments. EFSA stated that for all the outdoor uses of these substances, there was at least one aspect of their assessment indicating a high risk, leading to their conclusion that overall these neonicotinoids represent a risk to honeybees and wild bees. However, the risk was considered low for some specific uses depending on the route of exposure.

The new conclusions for these three neonicotinoids update those published in 2013 for honeybees and now incorporate wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees). The evaluation has been carried out by EFSA’s Pesticide Unit applying the EFSA 2013 Guidance on risk assessment on bees (EFSA Journal 2013;11(7):3295) and the exposure to bees has been assessed, as on previous occasions, via residues in bee pollen and nectar, dust drift during the sowing/application of the treated seeds, and water consumption. The conclusions have been supported by two separated consultations with pesticide experts in the EU Member States and will be shared with risk managers from the European Commission and Member States to consider potential amendments to the current restrictions on the use of these pesticides.

Please refer to the EFSA news article and its Q&A on neonicotinoids in the following link for more details:

For advice on risk assessment and further information on the registration of plant protection products, biocides or general chemicals, or any other regulatory issues, please contact us on +44 (0)1423 520245,





Published 8th March 2018
Categories Agrochemicals, Links, News
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