Neem oil, a popular pesticide and organic farming product, has been banned in the UK for horticultural use. This has caused confusion and concern among organic gardeners who have been using it for years without any issues.
But why has neem oil been banned in the UK?
In this article, we will explore the potential dangers of neem oil exposure and consumption, its effects on human health and the environment, and the reasons behind its ban in the UK.
Read on to find out more about this controversial substance and its impact on our health and wellbeing.
Why Is Neem Oil Banned In The UK?
Neem oil has been banned in the UK for horticultural use due to its potential harmful effects on human health and the environment. Neem oil exposure may cause abortion or lead to infertility, and it may cause liver damage in children. Pesticides containing neem oil (Azadirachtin) are banned in the UK as they have been found to be fatal for human beings.
The ingestion of neem oil is potentially toxic and can cause metabolic acidosis, seizures, kidney failure, encephalopathy and severe brain ischemia in infants and young children. Pregnant women, women trying to conceive, or children should not consume neem oil alone without any other solutions. It can also be associated with allergic contact dermatitis.
Neem oil is practically non-toxic to birds, mammals, bees and plants. However, neem oil is slightly toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. Azadirachtin, a component of neem oil, is moderately toxic to fish and other aquatic animals. Insects must eat the treated plant to be killed, so bees and other pollinators are not likely to be harmed.
EU legislation previously prohibited the placing on the market and use of plant protection products containing certain active substances which could give rise to harmful effects on human health or the environment. From 14 June 2011, the marketing of plant protection products in the EU has been subject to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. The Regulation prohibits use of any active substances in plant protection products unless they have been approved for that purpose in accordance with the Regulation.
What Is Neem Oil And How Is It Used In Gardening?
Neem oil is a natural pesticide made from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) that is commonly used in gardening. It is an effective solution for controlling a wide range of insect pests and diseases that can damage plants. Neem oil works as a pesticide by disrupting the hormones that control breeding, growth, and feeding in pests.
Neem oil can be applied as a foliar spray or leaf shine to the leaves of plants to prevent fungus and other leaf diseases. It is particularly effective against spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, tomato hornworms, and corn earworms. Neem oil can also be used as a soil soak by pouring 2 to 3 cups of the neem oil mixture around the base of each plant in your garden. This helps to prevent pests and disease before they take hold and can be repeated every 2 to 3 weeks until the insects have left the area or the disease symptoms lessen.
It is important to apply neem oil properly to prevent harm to beneficial insects such as bees that help pollinate vegetable plants. It is recommended to spray neem oil in the evening and again in the morning to avoid harming beneficial insects.
Although neem oil has many benefits for gardening, it has been banned in the UK for horticultural use due to its potential harmful effects on human health and the environment. Neem oil exposure may cause abortion, lead to infertility, and cause liver damage in children. Pesticides containing neem oil are banned in the UK as they have been found to be fatal for human beings. Therefore, it is important to use neem oil with caution and follow proper safety guidelines when using it in gardening.
The Potential Dangers Of Neem Oil Exposure And Consumption
Neem oil exposure and consumption can have potential dangers for human health. Neem oil contains a component called Azadirachtin, which is known to be toxic to humans. Exposure to neem oil may cause liver damage in children, lead to infertility or abortion in pregnant women, and can cause metabolic acidosis, seizures, encephalopathy, and severe brain ischemia in infants and young children.
People can be exposed to neem oil by eating neem oil-treated crops, inhaling the mist or dust while applying neem oil, or by letting the product touch their skin. It is important to follow package directions exactly and wear protective clothing when handling neem oil.
Neem oil is also harmful to aquatic life, especially fish and other aquatic animals. It is moderately toxic to them due to the presence of Azadirachtin.
Neem Oil And Its Effects On Human Health
Neem oil is derived from the seed kernels of the Neem tree and contains active ingredients like azadirachtin, nimbin, picrin, and sialin. Azadirachtin, a complex tetranortriterpenoid, is the main component of neem oil that is implicated in causing the harmful effects seen in neem oil poisoning. When someone is exposed to neem oil, they could experience seizures, metabolic acidosis, failure of the kidneys, and severe brain ischemia. Even young children can suffer from liver problems.
Neem oil exposure may also cause abortion or lead to infertility in women. Pregnant women, women trying to conceive or children should not consume neem oil alone without any other solutions. Neem oil can also be associated with allergic contact dermatitis.
Neem oil is slightly toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. Azadirachtin, a component of neem oil, is moderately toxic to fish and other aquatic animals. However, neem oil is practically non-toxic to birds, mammals, bees and plants. It is important to note that insects must eat the treated plant to be killed, so bees and other pollinators are not likely to be harmed.
Neem Oil And Its Impact On The Environment
Neem oil has been found to have a moderate impact on the environment. While it is non-toxic to most animals and plants, it can be harmful to fish and other aquatic life. Azadirachtin, a component of neem oil, has been found to be moderately toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.
Additionally, the use of neem oil as a pesticide can have unintended consequences on non-target organisms, such as beneficial insects like bees and butterflies. Insects must eat the treated plant to be killed, so bees and other pollinators are not likely to be harmed. However, if neem oil is used excessively or improperly, it can harm beneficial insects and disrupt the ecosystem.
Furthermore, the production of neem oil can have negative environmental impacts if not done sustainably. The demand for neem oil has led to deforestation in some areas, as well as the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers in neem tree cultivation.
Alternatives To Neem Oil For Organic Gardening
If you are an organic gardener in the UK looking for alternatives to neem oil, there are several options available to you. One effective alternative is rosemary oil, which has been found to be more effective than neem oil in controlling spider mites on tomato crops. Earth’s Ally Insect Control with rosemary oil has also been laboratory tested and proven safe for use around bees.
Another alternative is using insecticidal soaps, which are made from potassium salts of fatty acids and work by breaking down the protective outer coating of insects, causing them to dehydrate and die. These soaps are effective against soft-bodied insects such as aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
Pyrethrin-based insecticides are another option for organic gardeners. Pyrethrins are natural insecticides that are derived from chrysanthemum flowers and work by attacking the nervous system of insects. They are effective against a wide range of insects, including aphids, beetles, caterpillars, and whiteflies.
Finally, diatomaceous earth is a natural product made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms. It works by scratching the exoskeletons of insects, causing them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth is effective against a wide range of insects, including ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, and fleas.
When choosing an alternative to neem oil for organic gardening, it is important to read the label carefully and follow all instructions for use. It is also important to consider the potential impact on beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies, as well as any potential harm to human health or the environment.