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Field Studies Confirm Neonicotinoids’ Harm to Bees

The devastating effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees has been obvious for years, and the evidence that this poison kills bees is overwhelming. But with limited lab studies or real-world simulations, the poison’s supporters have been able to stall definitive conclusions on it. Now, a three-country European field study is pointing at neonicotinoids as contributing to bee deaths, TheScientist reports. Researchers were surprised to find that even where low levels of the poison were found, the insecticide stayed around for a very long time. They also found evidence that it was getting into water supplies.

This is so disturbing, I’m not even sure where to begin. But, bees aside, the fact that this poison is in our water is just one more reason to ban it. Modern agricultural practices have led to ever-increasing amounts of chemicals being used on our food, and whether we're talking about pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, most have deleterious effects on health. There’s no question that it’s in our food: The most recent pesticide residue report from the USDA showed that only 15 percent of tested samples were free from pesticide residues!

Another poison that’s in our food and water is atrazine, the second most commonly used herbicide in the U.S. after glyphosate. It’s been linked to many disturbing adverse health effects, but doesn’t get the attention that glyphosate has. Atrazine is the most common water contaminant in the U.S., where it was initially approved for use in 1958. It's been banned in Europe since 2005, and groundwater contamination was in fact one of the determining factors behind this decision — yet, 70 million pounds of atrazine are applied to agricultural fields in the U.S. each year, the vast majority of it being used on corn.

And back to neonicotinoids: Water testing by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2015 showed neonicotinoids are present in more than half of all streams tested — and, yes, whether the pesticide companies want to admit it or not, research shows these chemicals are leading to long-term population changes in wild foraging bees, which are three times more likely to be negatively affected by exposure to neonicotinoids than non-crop foragers.
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