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article imageNeonic pesticide risk to U.S. waterways

By Tim Sandle     Sep 6, 2015 in Environment
Neonicotinoids have been found in more than half of streams sampled across the U.S. The findings come from a team of U.S. government researchers.
U.S. officials have stepped up sampling of waterways in the U.S. due to concerns about the use of neonicotinoids and the impact upon the environment. The latest findings stem from the U.S. Geological Survey. Neonicotinoid pesticides (or 'neonics') are a type of neuro-active insecticides similar in chemical structure to nicotine.
Data indicates that five different types of neonicotinoids were recovered from 149 samples taken from 48 streams across 28 states. One of the types of pesticide was found, to various levels, in 63 percent of the samples collected. These samples included streams running through the Midwest and Southeast U.S.
The findings are of concern because neonics have been connected with honeybee deaths, as well as other pollinating insects. Recently concern has also been expressed with the presticides as potential aquatic toxicants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is experimenting with neonicotinoid free zones to see if honeybee populations thrive in areas where there is not a direct pesticide risk.
Discussing the findings with Argo news, lead investigator Michelle Hladik stated: “In the study, neonicotinoids occurred throughout the year in urban streams, while pulses of neonicotinoids were typical in agricultural streams during crop planting season.”
The research has been published in the journal Environmental Chemistry. The research paper is titled “First national-scale reconnaissance of neonicotinoid insecticides in streams across the USA.”
In related news, research published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, found that “Studies of food stores in honeybee colonies from across the globe demonstrate that colonies are routinely and chronically exposed to neonicotinoids, fipronil, and their metabolites.”
Assessing the impact of neonicotinoids on the environment is complex, the Royal Society of Chemistry notes. However, three trends are apparent. These are:
“Neonicotinoid use has increased rapidly around the world over the past two decades.”
Application of the pesticides results in “in widespread, continuous exposure of both target and nontarget species to low concentrations of these pesticides.”
“The approval process and existing toxicology testing regimes are wholly inadequate for these pesticides, neglecting both their widespread sublethal effects on numerous nontarget species.”
Such findings explain the concerns that many environmentalists and scientists have with the continued use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
More about Pesticides, neonicotinoids, Pollution, Rivers
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