Do trace levels of neonicotinoid insecticides found in waterways threaten aquatic life?

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A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey detected neonicotinoid pesticides in 10 Great Lakes tributaries throughout the year, although the levels were highest during the growing season.

“At these levels [of pesticides detected] it may not cause severe consequences today, but we could start seeing issues down the line with aquatic invertebrates,” said Michelle Hladik, a USGS research chemist and lead author of the study, published Jan. 19.

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The most common neonicotinoid products are manufactured primarily by Bayer and Syngenta. Both companies said the USGS study and others around the world do not indicate a risk for the aquatic environment.

“It is critical to understand that the mere detection of a pesticide, or other chemical does not imply any risks to aquatic insects,” Bayer Crop Science said in a statement to Bloomberg Environment. “In fact, there was nothing new about the monitoring data presented—it is consistent with data from earlier USGS monitoring programs and publications. These results are good news about the quality of our waterways.”

Related article:  Environmental media, advocacy groups in uproar after EPA grants long-term approval for alleged 'bee-killing' pesticide sulfoxaflor. Here's what the science says

Hladik said that while chronic exposure measurements may not cause significant impacts in the lab, in nature they could potentially cause issues like decreased reproductivity, growth rates, and movement in some species.

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Read full, original post: Agrochemical Giants Downplay Threat of Bee-Killing Pesticide in Water

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