The ill-informed debate behind France’s lifting of neonicotinoids ban

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The French parliament earlier this week approved a three-year exemption for sugar beet growers from a ban on the use of a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. The sugar beet sector has argued that its future was at stake because it was otherwise unarmed to counter the loss of crops caused by an aphid-borne virus disease. But the move outraged environmentalists who point to the inevitable effects of soil and water contamination by neonicotinoids, which are notably harmful for bees, and the dangers for human health. Amélie Poinssot highlights the ill-informed arguments presented in parliament in favour of a return of the controversial pesticides.

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The French lower house, the National Assembly, on Tuesday approved legislation to allow sugar beet farmers a special exemption to use the class of pesticides called neonicotinoids which were banned in France in 2018.