Date: 6 September 2015
Author: Christina Sarich
As communities ban the chemicals
The Midwestern United States first saw a burgeoning problem with super weeds, caused by GMOs. Now in a study conducted by researchers from the United States Geological Survey who collected samples from 9 sites in Nebraska and Iowa, it was found that neonicotinoids, otherwise known as bee-killing pesticides, were present in varying amounts in every single river and stream.
Although the levels of neonicotinoids varied depending on the sample site, many of the sites tested contained the pesticides in levels that are considered harmful.
The growing threat of neonicotinoids has not escaped public scrutiny, and though this was not a study to prove toxicity, the presence of neonics almost everywhere in the US is now undeniable.
USGS chemist Michelle Hladik, lead author of the paper describing the survey in the journal Environmental Pollution commented:
“This wasn’t a toxicity study, but there’s research out there indicating that these concentrations could be of concern.”
The study abstract reads:
“Neonicotinoid insecticides are of environmental concern, but little is known about their occurrence in surface water. An area of intense corn and soybean production in the Midwestern United States was chosen to study this issue because of the high agricultural use of neonicotinoids via both seed treatments and other forms of application.
Water samples were collected from nine stream sites during the 2013 growing season. The results for the 79 water samples documented similar patterns among sites for both frequency of detection and concentration (maximum:median) with clothianidin (75%, 257 ng/L:8.2 ng/L) > thiamethoxam (47%, 185 ng/L:<2 ng/L) > imidacloprid (23%, 42.7 ng/L: <2 ng/L).
Neonicotinoids were detected at all nine sites sampled even though the basin areas spanned four orders of magnitude. Temporal patterns in concentrations reveal pulses of neonicotinoids associated with rainfall events during crop planting, suggesting seed treatments as their likely source.”