Pesticides Poison Midwest Rivers

Neonicotinoids have been in the news a lot lately. Most recently they have been pointed to for falling bee populations around the United States. Now, there is another reason pesticides are making headlines. According to NPR, amounts of pesticides are being found in Midwest rivers. This is cause for big alarm considering much is unknown about their full impact on all living organisms.

Researchers at U.S. Geological Survey published findings in July regarding the urgency in learning more about pesticide existence in rivers. According to the study, neonicotinoids do not break down easily. Due to the method of plant contact – coating seeds with pesticide film, rather than spraying it on live plants – the chemicals become part of our ecosystem. The pesticides are formulated to withstand environmental conditions including long periods of time in water. This means once the pesticides are part of the water, they do not break down easily.

So, the next question is if left in  water, will harm come of it? To humans, there has been no direct evidence of harm. However, ultimately we will be effected because adverse effects have been found on  insect species, which will impact crop yields and quality. Although the EPA suggests low levels of insecticides are safe for the environment, they are linked to destroying insect life on land and in aquatic species. If birds prey on insects which are infused with this pesticide, they will also be harmed. Such dramatic changes in our ecosystem will throw nature’s cycle into chaos. Where there was once balance and order will be dysfunction.

According to PLOS ONE – a scientific research organization – 80 – 98% of the neonicotinoids end up in soil while only  1 – 20 % remains on plant seeds. The pesticide is then distributed throughout the soil and into our water systems by run offs, winds, or leeching. If insect and animal life is harmed by this pesticide, how are we exempt? Perhaps science has not yet found the direct impact to our bodies. As it is, findings of insecticides in our waters have only now surfaced.

References:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/07/29/336075067/widely-used-insecticides-are-leaching-into-midwest-rivers

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0062374

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749114002802

 

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