St­ing of toxic honey

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

THREE-quar­ters of the world’s honey con­tained pes­ti­cides that were harm­ful to hu­man health, a study has found.

Sci­en­tists tested 198 sam­ples from around the globe and found most con­tained at least one of the neon­i­coti­noid chem­i­cals – which can dam­age bees and at­tack the hu­man ner­vous sys­tem in high doses.

Ex­perts de­scribed the find­ings as alarm­ing and of sig­nif­i­cant en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cern for bees, but stressed any ex­po­sure was well within the safe limit for hu­man con­sump­tion.

Neon­i­coti­noids are neuro-ac­tive chem­i­cals sim­i­lar to nico­tine that have proved highly ef­fec­tive at pro­tect­ing crops from pests, es­pe­cially aphids and root-eat­ing grubs.

But cam­paign­ers have called for a com­plete ban on the pes­ti­cides, which they said dam­aged bees’ brains and im­paired their abil­ity to find pollen.

Dave Goul­son, a pro­fes­sor of bi­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Sus­sex, said: “Be­yond doubt, any­one who is reg­u­larly eat­ing honey is most likely to be get­ting a small dose of mixed neu­ro­tox­ins.”

He said, while this was un­likely to re­sult in any “mean­ing­ful harm”, it was im­pos­si­ble to know the long-term ef­fects on hu­mans who con­sumed it.

The re­search, pub­lished in the jour­nal Sci­ence, comes as the EU dis­cusses ex­tend­ing a pes­ti­cide ban on crops that at­tract bees. – Daily Mail

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