DDT — dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane — is a perfect example of what was initially considered a chemical solution to age-old problems.
It was banned because of an unanticipated negative impact. In 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring highlighted dangerous pesticide use and, a decade later, DDT was banned in America. In time, other jurisdictions, despite the usual farm-and-food-sector lobbying, followed suit.
We may have, at last, reached that point with bee-harming pesticides, as the Government will support an EU ban, if the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends one. The EFSA is reviewing how neonicotinoid pesticides impact on pollinators like bees. A blanket EU ban edged closer, after the UK ended its stonewalling on the chemicals this month.
Farmers — and consumers — face another challenge around food production, as the European Parliament has called for glyphosate — Roundup — to be banned by 2022, over cancer fears. The loss of these chemical tools is very significant to farms’ economic viability, but the consequences of their continued use are simply too dangerous to contemplate.
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