The objective of the study, published in the latest edition of PLOS ONE, was to determine if the EU ban of neonicotinoid pesticides was effective in reducing its exposure to honeybees. One hundred and thirty samples were collected from beekeepers in the U.K., with another 70 samples gathered from various countries in the world. Cross-analysis revealed that:
Authors of the study state that their results prove that the EU moratorium was only “partially effective in reducing exposure risk to bees.” Nevertheless, they say that their results may have been skewed by neonicotinoid residues which may have seeped into the soil and which proliferated during the early honey harvest that coincided with the oilseed rape flowering. The residues may have also been part of the winter seed treatments which are currently exempt from the EU restrictions. All the same, experts say that honeybees are still a vulnerable group. (Related: Pesticides are killing birds, bees, and bats by the millions.)
The results of the study are not limited to Europe. Recent data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveals that thousands of commonly consumed foods are laced with pesticide residues. Our government expects the exposure to only increase. Breaking down the FDA report for fiscal year 2015, we find that:
The FDA report further stated that 82 percent of domestic American fruits and 62 percent of domestic vegetables contained weed killers and contaminants from various pesticides and insecticides. This was further broken down to:
The FDA study coincides with a more recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report which claimed that during the same fiscal time period of 2015, roughly 85 percent of more than 10,000 food samples contained pesticide residues.
Medical professionals have stated that the legal limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is outdated and too politically-motivated to be considered accurate.
“Risk assessment practices at federal agencies have not been updated for modern scientific principles, including accounting for the fact that people are exposed to multiple chemicals and that certain groups, such as [those who are genetically susceptible], the very young, and old [are] at greater risk of exposure,” warned former EPA scientist Tracey Woodruff.