The Soil Association

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chaggle
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The Soil Association

Post by chaggle » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:21 am

I thought you might be interested in a dialogue I am having with The Soil Association - an organisation over which I am starting to have deep concerns.

I have to paraphrase it for reasons which will become apparent.

They put a post on Facebook that suggested that 1 teaspoon of Neonicotinoids "could kill 650 Billion bees"

They have a history with rabble-rousing headlines and inaccurate memes so I commented - simply asking if it was true.

"Carys" came back with two links - one to a blog and another to an academic paper that apparently explained the figures but I couldn't see an explanation and commented saying this. I also commented that as Neonics have been deployed by the ton for many years, their figure seemed highly implausible.

I got a facebook PM as follows...
Hi Simon,

I just wanted to let you know the workings out of the statistic:
· The LD50 of imidacloprid (the dose at which 50% of insects would be killed) is an LD50 of 4ng per bee (This is in the first article I shared with you)


· One gram = 1 billion (1000,000,000) nanograms.


· So, if one teaspoon = 5 grams = 5 billion nanograms = enough to deliver the LD50 of 4ng to 1 billion bees. That is equal to 650 million.

The reason I have messaged you is because you were right to question this statistic. Rather than being an error with the methodology it was a human error. When I originally made this info graphic, the statistic I was given was 1.25 billion. We did a lot of research into this statistic. It turned out that we could securely say that 650 million would be killed, but that it was highly likely that up to 1.25 billion could be.
As a result when I uploaded the wrong version to Facebook, where it said billion instead of million, I did not notice the error.

This was entirely my fault and I take full reprehensibility for this mistake and it really should not have happened. This does not at all reflect the integrity of Soil Associations work and was in fact a human error on my part.

I would like to thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have subsequently taken the post down. I have chosen to take it down rather than replace it because i do not have access to my work whilst outside of the office.

I hope you can understand the error and why it happened.

Carys
Attachment is not currently available
Facebook
The FB post linked to an article on their website which was also taken down. Wish I'd screen grabbed it all.

Anyway - thinking about it the amended figure is still utterly implausible. Although the maths might well be right the concept is horribly flawed - it makes the assumption that it is possible to actually deliver 4ng to 650,000,000 bees which is about as plausible as me inseminating 250,000,000 women with one ejaculation.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

Matt
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Re: The Soil Association

Post by Matt » Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:10 pm

Even then the maths is is wrong.

5 bn nano grams divided into into 4 nanogram doses provides 1.25 bn doses. That much is correct.

But if 50% of the bees receiving those doses die that's 625 million bees not 650 million

According to wiki

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imidaclop ... es#History
Like most insecticides, imidacloprid is highly toxic to bees, with a contact acute LD50 = 0.078μg a.i./bee and an acute oral LD50 = 0.0039μg a.i./bee
so If I use this 3.9 ng figure I get 641 million bees which is a little closer.

Although wiki then produces a higher LD50 does for honey bees
The contact acute LD50 is 0.024 µg a.i./bee (micrograms of active ingredient per bee).[17] The acute oral LD50 ranges from 0.005 µg a.i./bee to 0.07 µg a.i./bee,
Just nit picking their rationale of course. A few million is neither here or there when the whole methodology is a massive red herring.

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chaggle
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Re: The Soil Association

Post by chaggle » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:02 am

I have messaged Carys asking if she will be re-posting the corrected article and she said she will sometime this week. At which point it might be a good idea to point out my ejaculation analogy.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

DrS
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Re: The Soil Association

Post by DrS » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:41 pm

I note that the admission came via PM rather than openly on the post itself ...

Bloody organization made life hell for smallholders in Wales when I was there with their sometimes nonsensical (and sometimes dangerous) regulations.

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chaggle
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Re: The Soil Association

Post by chaggle » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:30 pm

DrS wrote:I note that the admission came via PM rather than openly on the post itself ...

Bloody organization made life hell for smallholders in Wales when I was there with their sometimes nonsensical (and sometimes dangerous) regulations.
Yes - they removed the post.

To be fair they sometimes do allow discussion on their FB threads, there was one a few weeks ago on glyphosate which I 'helped' with :D and it got a bit heated but they allowed it.

I have problems with the faith based nature of The Soil Association and organic farming in general.

I would like to think that shenanigans like this - dramatic, inaccurate headlines and wild spin did them no favours but it probably does them no harm at all.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

DrS
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Re: The Soil Association

Post by DrS » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:21 am

It's made no discernible difference for the past thirty or so years so I doubt it'll start now.

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chaggle
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Re: The Soil Association

Post by chaggle » Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:22 pm

Image

They've changed it.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

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