This is part of the book “Stéphane Foucart et les néonicotinoïdes. The World and disinformation 1“ where I show the journalist misinforms (= false or misleading statements) the reader. All quotes are translated (by me), except the ones marked between [ ] in the french version (french quotes are to numerous to be marked in this one).
A central point of the journalist’s reasoning is that the ban on NNIs has been slowed down by the influence of the agrochemical industry. To keep this fable going, S. Foucart invented
- a consensus or scientific obviousness from the 2003 CST study (2.II.1. Invent a consensus / scientific obviousness);
- influence mechanisms that would have had an effect on the regulatory process (sending letters, paying something to the laboratory that hires the researcher, etc.) (2.II.2. Invent the influence on regulation) and
- an identity between the present situation and the practices of the tobacco industry to delay recognition of the carcinogenic nature of smoking (2.II.3. The references to the tobacco industry).
The whole is summarized in the following passage:
“So 2003 could have marked the beginning of the end of the controversy. But that was not the case. Agrochemical companies used the toolbox of tobacco companies to turn science against itself and sow doubt. Use rigor and accuracy in the instruments to delay awareness of the risks as much as possible.” (45)
This point also helps to reinforce what the journalist writes on risk assessment procedures: if pesticides are useless, regulation loses its complexity, which lies in the balance between environmental risks and practical benefits. If pesticides were unnecessary, there would be no justification for limiting the assessment tests and the flaws identified by EFSA in its 2012 opinion would indeed be inadmissible.