The New Bee Crisis

By Beyond Pesticides, Special for  USDR

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 science on the effects of neonicotinoids in waterways and the life they support. Not only are these insecticides – imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam- regularly detected in waterbodies, they are found at levels that harm sensitive aquatic organisms. 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.

“The pervasive presence of neonicotinoids in waterways can have such profound and long-lasting impacts on our aquatic ecology, even at low levels, that has so far been overlooked,” said Jay Feldman, executive director, Beyond Pesticides. “With new findings of neonicotinoids in drinking water, it is imperative that action be taken to restrict the these persistent  chemicals,”

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.

SOURCE Beyond  Pesticides

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