New report. Water Hazard: Aquatic contamination from neonicotinoid pesticides.


Vast swathes of aquatic life and the food webs they support are in jeopardy across the United States. While harmful impacts to aquatic invertebrates and their environments often go unnoticed, their well-being is essential to healthy ecosystems. Within the last several decades the use of highly toxic and long- lasting insecticides, in particular a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids, have become hazardous to the waters that wildlife such as fish, amphibians, and birds— and people—rely upon.

Neonicotinoids are water soluble and systemic in nature, meaning they are taken up in the vascular system of a treated plant, thereby rendering the whole plant toxic. It doesn’t stop there; the use of neonicotinoids has led to widespread contamination of soil, fields, puddles, ditches, streams, groundwater, lakes, rivers, and marine areas; this issue is exploding as a new topic for scientists. Researchers across the United States, Canada, and Europe are repeatedly finding high levels of neonicotinoid residues that exceed vital standards set to protect aquatic life. Neonicotinoid coatings applied to crop seeds are one of the leading causes of contamination. These toxic seed coatings are almost tailor-made to contaminate the environment. Instead of staying on the plants, for corn seeds (the single most extensive use of these coatings) approximately 95% of the neonicotinoid coating is scraped, blown, sloughed off, or otherwise dispersed into the surrounding air, soil, and water. 

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