Agrochemical giants Syngenta and Bayer discovered in their own tests that their pesticides caused severe harm to bees, according to unpublished documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the environmental group Greenpeace.
The companies conducted the trials on products that used the controversial pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, which have long been linked to rapid bee decline. Neonics are also the world’s most commonly used pesticide.
According to their own studies, Syngenta’s thiamethoxam and Bayer’s clothianidin were found to cause severe harm at high levels of use, although the effect was lessened when used under 50 parts per billion (ppb) and 40ppb respectively, the Guardian reports.
However, as Greenpeace notes, the research “assumes a very narrow definition of harm to bee health and ignores wild bees which evidence suggests are more likely to be harmed by neonicotinoids.”
That means the findings may “substantially underestimate” the impact of neonics, Greenpeace said.
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