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Daily News Blog

14
Apr

Report Documents Threats to Aquatic Life, Calls for Phase-Out of Neonicotinoid Use

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2017) – As pollinators nationwide suffer severe declines tied to widespread exposure to pesticides, particularly a family of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, a new report details the chemicals’ dramatic impacts on aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity. This report coincides with findings of neonicotinoids in drinking water.

The new report, Poisoned Waterways, documents the persistence of neonicotinoids in U.S. waterbodies and the danger they cause to aquatic organisms, resulting in complex cascading impacts on aquatic food web. The report supports previous calls for the restriction of neonicotinoid pesticides, given their high toxicity to bees, and now aquatic life.

In an early 2017 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) risk assessment on one of the most widely used neonicotinoids, the agency reported levels in streams, rivers, lakes and drainage canals that routinely exceed acute and chronic toxicity endpoints derived for freshwater invertebrates.

Poisoned Waterways reviews the current scientific literature on the effects of neonicotinoids in waterways and the life they support. Not only are these insecticides, which include, imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam, regularly detected in waterbodies in the U.S., they are found at levels that harm sensitive aquatic organisms. Aquatic insects and crustaceans are highly vulnerable, with the mayfly identified as the most sensitive. The report finds that impacts on certain aquatic species can have cascading effects on food webs and healthy ecosystem function. These impacts occur at low levels, and can result in decreased species abundance, altered predator-prey relationships, and reduced nutrient cycling. Impacts to other wildlife that depend on these species raises serious cause for concern.

“The pervasive presence of neonicotinoids in waterways can have such profound and long-lasting impact on our aquatic ecology that has so far been overlooked,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “the science shows that these pesticides are highly toxic to a range of aquatic species, even at low levels,” he continued.

“With new findings of neonicotinoids in drinking water, it is imperative that action be taken to restrict the contamination of our waters by these persistent chemicals,” said one of the study’s authors, Nichelle Harriott, science and regulatory director of Beyond Pesticides.

The report also highlights current regulatory failures of EPA aquatic standards, which continue to underestimate risks to sensitive species due to a reliance on test protocols that do not reflect real-world exposures or susceptibilities. Further, the impacts of chemical mixtures and synergistic interactions are not considered. Aquatic standards, which continue to underestimate risks to sensitive species due to a reliance on test protocols that do not reflect real-world exposures or susceptibilities. Further, the impacts of chemical mixtures and synergistic interactions are not considered.

The report also highlights current regulatory failures of EPA aquatic standards, which continue to underestimate risks to sensitive species due to a reliance on test protocols that do not reflect real-world exposures or susceptibilities. Further, the impacts of chemical mixtures and synergistic interactions are not considered.

In light of the report’s findings and regulatory shortcomings, Beyond Pesticides is calling for the suspension of neonicotinoids. Recently, Canada proposed to phase-out uses of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, citing risks to aquatic life.

Neonicotinoids are one of the most widely used pesticides in the world. They are systemic pesticides that have the ability move through the plants vascular system and are expressed through pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets.  These pesticides, which include imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, and clothianidin have been found by a growing body of scientific literature to be linked to pollinator decline in general.

In light of the shortcomings of federal action in the U.S. to protect these beneficial organisms, it is left up to us to act. You can pledge to stop using neonicotinoids and other toxic pesticides. Sign the pollinator protection pledge today. Beyond Pesticides also advocates the adoption of organic land management practices and policies by local communities that eliminate the use of toxic pesticides in our environment.

The report can be found at http://bit.ly/2pba2mL

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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  • Archives

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    • Announcements (579)
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