According to a new study, neurotoxic pesticides known as "neonics" are not only wiping out the world's bees, but also killing off butterflies, fish, and birds, threatening to wipe out "the heart of a functioning ecosystem". A new study says neonics -- the neurotoxic pesticides behind colony collapse disorder -- can be 5,000 to 10,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT.
"We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment," said Jean-Marc Bonmatin of France's National Centre for Scientific Research, co-author of the report. After studying over 800 reports gathered over 20 years, scientists found "clear evidence of harm" "sufficient to trigger regulatory action". Meanwhile, another recent report shows steady bird declines year after year in areas with neonic use.
Thanks to intense lobbying by Bayer, neonics are the most widely-used pesticides on the planet. But we cannot stand by as these pesticides threaten to destroy the natural ecosystem, including the pollinators that maintain our food supply.
The latest study says these pesticides, absorbed by plants, are also harming other insect pollinators, fish and birds as they leach into soil and water. The most affected species were terrestrial invertebrates such as earthworms, which are crucial soil-enrichers. Bees and butterflies were next, followed by aquatic invertebrates, then birds and finally fish, amphibians and certain microbes.
"The combination of their widescale use and inherent properties, has resulted in widespread contamination of agricultural soils, freshwater resources, wetlands, non-target vegetation, estuarine and coastal marine systems," the authors wrote. The report said there was not enough data to determine whether there was an impact on mammals and reptiles, but "the researchers concluded that it was probable." This four-year assessment was carried out by The Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, which advises the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world's watchdog on species loss.
Immediately following its release, another study came out that found neonic use responsible for a 3.5% decline in bird populations every year. With these mounting studies finding neonicotinoids responsible, the big pesticide companies are starting to engage in tactics they learned from Big Tobacco by pumping out their own research to cast the blame on mites, climate change -- anything other than their own toxic products. We can't afford pesticide companies to subvert science and threaten our global ecosystems.
Neonicotinoids are a set of particularly pernicious pesticides that seeps into every part of the plant, as well as the soil around it. They damages the brains of insects that land to feed on it -- whether they eat the fruit of the plant, or just want the pollen -- and they wash out into the soil where it wipes out most of the surrounding life. At The Story of Stuff, we spend a lot of time focusing on the chemicals in our products. Often, those chemicals have an outsized effect before they even reach us. Millions of tons of pesticides are dumped onto our crops, into our rivers, and carried throughout our ecosystems around the world. This is a clear example of "more" not meaning "better". The more toxins we dump, the more the real pests they are designed to kill grow resistant, and the more the animals we rely on to maintain a clean, healthy planet are endangered. Please join in today in stopping this menace to our food chain.
The Independent: Pesticides linked to mass bee deaths also affect other friendly organisms including birds and fish, June 24, 2014