European Union bans insecticide said harmful to bees

July 16, 2013 at 8:00 PM
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BRUSSELS, July 16 (UPI) -- The European Union says farmers will be legally banned from applying a widely used insecticide blamed for declining bee population to their crops.

Fipronil, an insect nerve agent suspected of being harmful to bees, will be banned from use on corn and sunflowers in Europe from the end of 2013, Britain's The Guardian reported Tuesday.

E.U. member states overwhelmingly backed the proposal in a vote Tuesday although Britain declined to back the measure, the newspaper said.

Fipronil, used in more than 70 countries and on more than 100 different crops, has been termed a "high acute risk" to honeybees by the European Food Safety Authority.

A similar assessment by the authority of three other neonicotinoid insecticides led to the suspension of their use in the European Union in April.

In the voting Tuesday, only Britain, Slovakia and the Czech Republic abstained and only Spain, Europe's the biggest user of fipronil, and Romania voted against a ban.

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