Nature notes: Rona ditches neonics as bee deaths rise

Plus, is California about to open a chemical can of worms by requiring BPA warning labels on tins?


Just as a new survey out of the U.S. -reported a spike in bee deaths, Rona Canada announced that most of its garden centre plants, some 70 per cent, are now free of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides. 

More than 40 per cent of American honeybee colonies died over the last year, according to a survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s the second-highest die-off in nine years, and took analysts by surprise -because of the high level of summer mortality.

The causes are still being hotly debated, but garden centres are moving ahead with plans to purge neonic pesticides linked to weakening bee -immune systems and bee fatalities. Home Depot now requires neonic labelling, while Lowe’s says it’ll be neonic-free by 2019.

BPA LABELLED TOXIC IN CALIFORNIA?

California has officially added BPA to its list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity in women. Are warning labels on tin cans and other products containing BPA -imminent?

California actually tried to add BPA to its Proposition 65 list as a developmental toxin back in 2013, but a lawsuit (followed by an appeal) by a coalition of chemical companies has tied that move up in the courts.

Under Prop 65, chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm have to come with a warning label. You might spot warnings on freshly paved parking lots, in tattoo parlours and on an -array of consumer goods. Fail to warn consumers and the attorney general can sue you.

However, before that happens with BPA, experts have to determine at what level the chemical is considered to cause reproductive harm to women. If the level in a product falls below a predetermined mark, warning labels don’t have to be posted. 

The American Chemistry Council (ACA) says California’s latest decision “is not supported by the extensive scientific record” and points to a recent decision by the European Food Safety Authority that deemed BPA’s use at current levels in consumer goods safe. 

The ACA, however, fails to mention that the European Chemical Agency’s Risk Assessment Committee pushed to have BPA regulations toughened up. And as of January, France actually outlawed BPA from all containers and utensils that come in direct food contact.

In both the U.S. and Canada, BPA has been banned from baby bottles and infant formula containers, but it’s still commonly used in polycarbonate plastic, receipts, dental sealants, can linings and glass jar lids. 

ecoholic@nowtoronto.com | @ecoholicnation

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