“The detection of bee-killing neonics in honey samples from every region of the world demonstrates yet again the alarming extent of environmental contamination caused by the mass use of neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics),” said Faisal Moola, director general with the David Suzuki Foundation. “As the authors of this eye-opening scientific study point out, honeybees are ‘sentinels of environmental quality’, meaning residues of pesticides in honey indicate environmental contamination where the bees forage. While the concentrations of neonics detected are below the levels regulatory authorities consider safe for human consumption, bees remain vulnerable. Constant exposure to these toxic pesticides, alongside other stressors, threatens our pollinators and food security.”

 “These latest research findings reinforce the need for Canada to phase out all neonics without delay to prevent further environmental contamination.”

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Note to editors:

study published today in the leading scientific journal Science detected neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) in three-quarters of the honey samples gathered from all regions of world, including Canada.

Neonics threaten a large number of beneficial species and are implicated in the global decline of pollinators. Neonics are toxic to honeybees even at low levels. Evidence of harm includes effects on bees’ immune system, reproductive patterns and feeding behaviours. Foraging bees take contaminated nectar and pollen back to the hive, exposing the whole colony. The Task Force on Systemic Pesticides’ 2017 update to its Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Effects of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems, released last month in Ottawa, highlighted new evidence of harm.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency initiated a re-evaluation of risks to pollinators from three neonics in 2012. The Agency said it will publish preliminary risk assessments and propose regulatory action, if warranted, in December.

For more information, please contact:

Brendan Glauser, David Suzuki Foundation | 604-356-8829 | bglauser@davidsuzuki.org