La revue Science a publié le 1er juin un appel signé par plus de deux cents scientifiques internationaux : ils recommandent l’interdiction sans délai les néonicotinoïdes, ces insecticides impliqués dans l’effondrement de la biodiversité. Il y a urgence affirment les 233 signataires, pour qui il est établi que ces produits nuisent aux insectes et contribuent à l’actuelle perte massive de biodiversité :
Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world (1). They are applied to a broad range of food, energy, and ornamental crops, and used in domestic pest control (2). Because they are neurotoxins, they are highly toxic to insects (2), a group of organisms that contains the majority of the described life on Earth, and which includes numerous species of vital importance to humans such as pollinators and predators of pests (3). Neonicotinoids have proved to be highly persistent in the environment, such that substantial residues are commonly found in soils, wildflowers, streams, and lakes (4). One recent study found neonicotinoids in 75% of honey samples collected from around the world (5). Hundreds of independent scientific studies have been performed to assess their impacts on beneficial organisms such as bees, aquatic insects, butterflies, and predatory beetles (4, 6).
It is the view of the undersigned scientists that the balance of evidence strongly suggests that these chemicals are harming beneficial insects and contributing to the current massive loss of global biodiversity. As such, there is an immediate need for national and international agreements to greatly restrict their use, and to prevent registration of similarly harmful agrochemicals in the future. On 28 April, the European Parliament voted for a complete and permanent ban on all outdoor uses of the three most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides (7). With the partial exception of the province of Ontario, Canada (8), governments elsewhere have failed to take action.
Failure to respond urgently to this issue risks not only the continued decline in abundance and diversity of many beneficial insects, but also the loss of the services they provide and a substantial fraction of the biodiversity heritage of future generations.