The environmental risks of neonicotinoid insecticides

Photo Credit: Alexander Gref Photo Credit: Alexander Gref

A new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology that reviews the current scientific evidence on neonicotinoids found that 90% of neonicotinoids persist in soils, where they accumulate and leach into waterways.  Neonicotinoids are neurotoxins that are highly toxic to most insects, and are one of the most commonly used insecticides in the world.  The residues of these chemicals that are often found in soils and waterways have levels that are high enough to be lethal to most insects, including beneficial organisms such as pollinators.  Treated seeds may also be toxic when consumed by birds and mammals. Certain neonicotinoids that were banned by the European Commission because of fears that the chemicals are killing bees, birds, mammals and soil organisms, but they are still commonly used in the US.