Syngenta US News

Syngenta responds to study, “An assessment of acute insecticide toxicity loading of chemical pesticides used on agricultural land in the United States,” DiBartolomeis et al. (2019).

The study authors took a “toxicity loading” approach when looking at U.S. pesticide usage, which oversimplifies pesticide use and does not provide an adequate estimate of exposure. Pesticide risk involves understanding both exposure and effects, which the study did not take into account. Further, the study only focused on one organism—the honey bee—and disregarded other important organisms such as fish, birds, mammals, and even humans. Neonicotinoids are a modern class of insecticides that are used at lower rates and applied fewer times, than older insecticides. If not used according to the label, neonics can potentially be toxic to bees. Based on research studies in support of the registration, neonics also have low toxicity for other organisms, when considering both exposure and effects. EPA registered neonics to replace broad-spectrum insecticides, like organophosphates and carbamates.

Neonics are rigorously tested before going to market to ensure they can be used safely and effectively. In the case of Syngenta’s thiamethoxam, more than 1,600 studies have been conducted in support of its safe use, including humans, wildlife and the environment.

Neonics are an essential tool for farmers because they provide selective control of damaging pests and help ensure beneficial insects remain available to keep other potential pests in check. Without neonics, growers would be forced to rely on a few older classes of chemistry that are less effective at targeting pests and require more frequent applications.