The European Commission will renew the authorisation of the pesticide glyphosate in the European Union for 10 years, subject to "new restrictions and conditions". Following EU procedure, the announcement was made after member states failed to reach the majority required to renew or refuse approval.
The decline of insects in Central and Western Europe in recent years is mainly due to human activities and the intensification of agriculture, according to a study funded by three companies (Bayer, BASF and Syngenta) that manufacture pesticides. The paper, published in PLoS ONE, summarises an analysis of 82 other published studies and explains the causes of population declines in two groups of insects: carabids (ground beetles) and lepidopterans (including moths and butterflies). The authors estimate that "anthropogenic activities in general" are most responsible for this decline, followed by agricultural intensification (including pesticides) and climate change in third place.
A study in Spanish children, with follow-up from pregnancy to adolescence, has found an association between children's exposure to pesticides and fungicides and earlier breast development in girls and genital development in boys. The work has been carried out by the University of Granada (UGR), the Institute for Biosanitary Research (ibs.GRANADA) and CIBERESP (ISCIII).