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HOME En - Fr - Es - De English “Inspectors” on the risk from pesticides? Another “public” official jumps ship: Thompson joins Syngenta!

“Inspectors” on the risk from pesticides? Another “public” official jumps ship: Thompson joins Syngenta!

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August 14, 2013 spagnola 18x12 italiana 18x12

20130814 corrupted scienceDr. Helen Thompson, the UK government's senior Bee Scientist at the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) is officially joining Syngenta, the leading agrochemical manufacturer of insecticides.

This is an umpteenth example of a bee-scientist "jumping ship" to join the company which she was supposedly "regulating" and "inspecting," which proves the lack of a public definition of "inspector" and "regulated".


Dr. Thompson led the Environmental Risk Team at the UK's FERA. She has produced many publications, some of them for industry-players like Syngenta; she also represented the UK as FERA's 'bee expert', at meetings of EFSA and other scientific and public bodies.
She led reports that deny any correlation between global bee mortality and pesticides.
She has spoken publicly, presenting herself in press and media, even on television, to minimize and dismiss concerns about global bee-deaths and pesticides.

The last UK government's official "pearl of wisdom" was a study into the toxic impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on bumblebees. This study was publicized "casually and promptly" in April 2013 after the EU decision about neonicotinoids which assured that there was no risk from the pesticide for bumblebees.

This "study" was widely cited and promulgated by many media outlets and, unfortunately was publicized even by farmer associations: for examples it was one of the few scientific studies that Coldiretti publicized.

But the European scientific review by the environmental agency EFSA of this "study" was such as to invalidate permanently the scientific value of its author: unfounded and unreliable (see article in The Guardian).

The consequent case of "jumping ship" to work explicitly for the pesticide industry, echoes that of French civil servant Anne Alix, already Novartis employer (one of the firms that created Syngenta) that became public pesticide-risk-assessor for France. "Coincidently" the only pesticide authorized for corn in France it was, since 2013, same as Syngenta's Cruiser. Even Dr. Alix, after changing jobs, reached out to Dr. Thomson on many international working groups on honey bees, (ICPBR, EPPO, OECD and the EFSA), then explicitly joined the pesticide company Dow AgroSciences.

On the other hand, the story of the Anglo-Saxon "independent researcher" James Cresswel, who, after having tried (unsuccessfully) to challenge the validity of a French research about bees, obtained, as a prize of its highly activism, funding from Syngenta for his laboratory, which documents well the pervasive influence of economic interests of agrochemicals on scientific activities.

For the European Beekeeping Coordination, such biased misinformation is intended to "'muddy the waters"' and prevent politicians from making clear decisions on the controversial topic of pesticides and bee-deaths.

The European Beekeeping Coordination urges the European authorities and Member States to outlaw these suspicious career-moves between 'Pesticide Regulation Agency' and Pesticide Manufacturers. Public authorities must only employ truly independent scientists who can furnish them with independent, unbiased information. Measures should also be taken to control aggressive pesticide industry lobbying against at public institutions and regulators.

Sources:
Press release by European Beekeeping Coordination (link in English) and Italian translation edited by UNAAPI (PDF)