The die-off of bees and other pollinators poses an enormous threat to our food and agriculture system and environment. A growing body of scientific evidence points to neonicotinoids (neonics), a class of systemic pesticides, as a primary cause of the massive decline of bees. Last year the EU imposed a moratorium on certain neonics, and a broader review of harmful pesticides is underway. Environmental and agriculture organizations are pushing for a ban in the U.S. at both the state and federal levels, and several cities have already banned neonics.
This progress could be undermined by the push in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to harmonize standards down to the lowest level. Civil society groups in the EU point to a “regulatory freeze” that is blocking progress on endocrine disruptor and neonic regulation. TTIP negotiations also threaten the EU’s use of the Precautionary Principle, which strengthens their ability to protect public health and the environment when there is scientific uncertainty. TTIP could also affect the growing number of U.S. city and state-level regulations on neonics.