Here, I relate what the journalist said in his article “Tout comprendre aux pesticides néonicotinoïdes”. All quotes, originally in French, were translated by me.
On May 10, a ban on NNIs was proposed during the discussions on the “loi sur la biodiversité“. In this context, S. Foucart offers a synthesis on NNIs.
He recalls the distinction between the 3 main types of pesticides: insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. Among insecticides, the NNI family is made up of 7 molecules representing approximately 40% of the world agricultural insecticide market: imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, nitenpyram and thiacloprid.
Their main mode of application is the seed coating. This would make them “systemic” insecticides, the poison circulating throughout the plant. There is a scientific consensus on the deleterious effect of NNIs on wild pollinators, in particular because they are able to act at very low doses on the nervous system of insects in general and bees in particular. They can have neurotoxic effects endangering hives even at sublethal doses.
NNIs are said to be all the more dangerous as a study has shown “that bees preferentially forage on contaminated plants rather than those which are not.” Their use would pollute large areas: 90% of the product would not be used by the plant and would “therefore remain in the soil and generally persist there for several years”. Being soluble in water, the molecules could also be transported and permeate the surrounding environment.
A literature review estimates that their use thus weakens all “ecosystems by affecting soil invertebrates, the microfauna of rivers, amphibians, etc.” NNIs would also be one of the causes of the 50% decrease. in 30 years of field bird populations in Europe.
3 of the 7 NNIs have already seen their uses restricted by the EU since the end of 2013. S. Foucart ends by questioning: “But other uses are still authorized and four other neonicotinoid substances are still used without restrictions. Until when ? “