Friday, July 29, 2016

Our Chemicals Are Killing Honey Bees’ Sex Lives

Our Chemicals Are Killing Honey Bees’ Sex Lives

The birds may be fine, but a new study shows the bees are having some serious fertility issues.

07/28/2016 08:43 pm ET
If there’s a species that doesn’t need an unintentional dose of birth control, it’s the honey bee.
A new study, however, suggests two common neonicotinoid insecticides are not only shortening the overall lifespan of male honey bees, known as drones, but also inhibiting their ability to produce viable sperm.
The chemicals’ contraceptive effects, warn researchers from Switzerland’s University of Bern, could have “profound consequences for the health of the queen, as well as the entire colony.”

The Washington Post via Getty Images
A male drone bee cleans his legs atop a hive.

The study, led by Bern doctoral student Lars Straub and published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is the latest bit of bad news for the planet’s most important pollinators, which are facing an onslaught of threats.
“We know multiple stressors can affect honey bee health, including parasites and poor nutrition,” senior author Geoff Williams of the University of Bern and Agroscope said in a statement. “It is possible that agricultural chemicals may also play an important role.”
Male honey bees obtained from colonies exposed to thiamethoxam and clothianidin were shown to have live sperm counts 39 percent lower than those not exposed, according to the study. The findings, the researchers say, “demonstrate for the first time that neonicotinoid insecticides can negatively affect male insect reproductive capacity.”
Additionally, the study found that the lifespans of chemically exposed bees were reduced by roughly 32 percent, from an average 22 days to 15 days.

Lars Straub, University of Bern
Fluorescence microscopy revealing living (stained in bluish-green) and dead (stained in red) male honey bee sperm.

Despite increased efforts to reverse declining bee populations, U.S beekeepers lost 44 percent of their total colonies from April 2015 to March 2016, an increase of 3.5 percentage points over the previous year, according to the findings of an annual survey released in May. Known threats include the parasitic varroa mite, malnutrition from habitat loss and pesticides.
As the authors note in a press release, the two neonicotinoids involved in the study are partially banned in Europe. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing neonicotinoids after a study found the chemicals can impair bumblebees’ learning and memory and blunt their ability to forage. Preliminary risk assessments for thiamethoxam and clothianidin are scheduled for release in December.
Scientists are particularly concerned about declining bee populations because of the potential impact on food security. The insects pollinate 75 percent of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the United States, and add at least $15 billion in economic value to the country’s agricultural industry.
Study co-author Peter Neumann said in a statement that the results “highlight the need for stringent environmental risk assessments of agricultural chemicals to protect biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

BEES TO BE KILLED EN MASSE



UNITED STATES CDC RECOMMENDS

BEES TO BE KILLED

 EN MASSE

Puerto Rico Mayors Label Anti-Zika Pesticide Use 'Environmental Terrorism'

An anti-fumigation movement has been raising concerns about U.S. recommendations to use aerial spraying to control the spread of Zika.

Puerto Rican mayors from across the political divide have joined together to take a stand against Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla’s controversial pending plan to combat Zika transmitting mosquitos on the island with aerial fumigation, local media reported Wednesday.
The dozen local public officials behind the cause are part of a movement in Puerto Rico against proposed widespread use of the insecticide known as Naled. The Coalition Against Fumigation, made up of farmers, doctors, and other activists, has spearheaded the campaign.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz argued on Tuesday that a decision to allow aerial Naled fumigation would be a form of “environmental terrorism.” Critics of the insecticide raise concerns over potential adverse effects of the chemical on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, particularly bee populations, which have been in decline around the world in recent years.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended Naled spraying for the island amid concern over the spread of the mosquito-born Zika virus. The administration of Garcia Padilla is expected to finalize a decision on whether to move forward with the plan this week, El Vocero reported.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, studies carried out in Puerto Rico in February and March of this year found the method was “highly effective” at eliminating adult female Aedes aegypti mosquitos that carry the Zika virus.
The EPA specifies that Naled should be applied in small doses of less than 0.1 pounds of active ingredient per acre, along with other “inert” ingredients in the insecticide, in order to be an effective public health measure “without posing risks to people.” Research by the Extension Toxicology Network in the late 1990’s found that Naled is “moderately toxic” and that “chronic exposure” could cause nervous system damage.
The CDC sprayed Naled in Puerto Rico across some 177,000 acres of the San Juan area in 1987 in an effort to control the spread of Dengue fever, according to the EPA. The insecticide is also currently being used on some 16 million acres on the U.S. mainland “as part of routine mosquito control,” according to the agency.
Puerto Rico’s anti-fumigation movement has also stood in solidarity with the ongoing protest camp set up at the end of June outside the U.S. court in the Hato Rey area of San Juan to protest the U.S. federal control board imposed on the island through the controversial PROMESA bill to deal with the US$73 billion debt crisis.
According to local media, the Coalition Against Fumigation has organized an action on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. local time to raise awareness about the issue.



by teleSUR / hg-PV-egb

Monday, June 27, 2016

Are GMO soybeans growing near you?

Americas

In Photos: Argentine villagers blame pesticide spraying for serious health problems

Residents of the village of Avia Terai, in the Argentine province of Chaco, live surrounded by genetically modified soybean crops. They say that this means regular spraying with pesticides, which they claim has brought them more health problems than such a small rural community would normally expect.
The villagers allowed photographer Jean-Jerome Destouches to capture their daily lives on camera.
María del Carmen Seveso, a doctor from the city of Saez Peña, about 12 miles from Avia Terai, says she has no doubt that the pesticides cause cancer and other serious illnesses.
Seveso claims that the number of newborns with congenital illnesses at the hospital where she worked jumped from 46 in 1998, around the time that pesticide spraying began in the area, to 186 in 2009.
These conclusions were included within a report published by the National Health Commission that also interviewed over 2,000 people in the area. It found that 31 percent of those interviewed in Avia Terai reported a relative with cancer in the last decade. The figure was three percent in another village called Charadai, far from soybean crops.
Dr. Damien Verzeñassi, of Rosario University, said the initial analysis of data collected related to 120,000 people living within a kilometer of sprayed crops, suggests cancer rates three times the national average. The study, he added, has yet to be published.
Argentina's authorities, meanwhile, have said they would need more than studies like these to make major policy changes. The country is a major world exporter of soybean oil, and industrial agriculture has an important wider role in the economy.
"I can't tell you how many documents and studies I've read, as well as videos against biotechnology, articles in the media, and in the universities, in Argentina and in Great Britain too," former Argentine agriculture secretary Lorenzo Basso told a press conference in 2013. "And the truth is that if you read all of this you end up in a kind of mix salad where everyone is confused."
Farmers in the Chaco region commonly rely on weedkillers that include glyphosate, such as the brand Roundup produced by agribusiness giant Monsanto.
The company has always insisted that glyphosate is safe to use if handled properly. Monsanto has the backing of some parts of the scientific community, as well as regulatory agencies all over the world. These include the Environmental Protection Agency in the US, which has approved and reapproved the use of Roundup.
Controversy over the chemical has nevertheless heated up in recent years, as its use has become more common.
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer pronounced glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic" in March 2015. The WHO appeared to reverse its position two months later when, together with the Food and Agricultural Organization, it released a report that concluded that glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans." The second report, however, only referred to consuming crops that had been sprayed with the chemical.
Glyphosate was back in the news earlier this month when the European Union refused to make a decision on whether to approve a proposal to extend the permit to use the herbicide in the region, while further scientific study is carried out by the European Chemicals Agency. The issue is expected to be put to another vote shortly.
(All photos by Jean-Jerome Destouches//Hans Lucas Studio/VICE News)
Photo by Jean-Jerome Destouches//Hans Lucas Studio/VICE News
Silvia Ponce lives in Avia Terai with her seven children in a house that lies 20 meters from crops that are sprayed with glyphosate. Ponce remembers that once, when she was pregnant with Aixa who is now nine years old, she was directly sprayed with pesticides and felt she was suffocating. Her new baby was then born covered with hairy moles, some of which have turned carcinogenic and been surgically removed. Aixa also suffers from fevers and near-immediate burning if she spends too much time in the sun, which is hard to avoid in the region where temperatures typically reach 104 degrees in the summer. Ponce says that another child in her barrio has the same condition. "I was told by doctors that her skin disease might have been caused by pesticides sprayed in soybean and cotton crops," she said. "But for my daughter's problem it is impossible to prove it at 100 percent."
*
Photo by Jean-Jerome Destouches//Hans Lucas Studio/VICE News
Many of Avia Terai's inhabitants don't have running water in their homes. Instead they collect rainwater, often from gutters in their roofs. This opens them to the consumption of pesticides dissolved in the water after it was sprayed by planes and then blown into the community by the wind.
*
Photo by Jean-Jerome Destouches//Hans Lucas Studio/VICE News
Soybean is not the only genetically modified plant cultivated in Avia Terai. Cotton is also grown in large quantities and regularly sprayed with glyphosate. A lab nearby specializes in developing new cotton seeds.
*
Photo by Jean-Jerome Destouches//Hans Lucas Studio/VICE News
Camila Verón was born five years ago with Lowe syndrome, which means she suffers from glaucoma, kidney dysfunction, and cognitive disabilities. Camila's mother, Silvia Achaval, says that the doctors who first saw her daughter told her they couldn't explain the cause of her condition, but they did ask her if she lived near soybean crops. "When they asked me that I understood why my daughter was ill," she said.
*
Photo by Jean-Jerome Destouches//Hans Lucas Studio/VICE News
Doctors from the University Network for Environment and Health estimate that 12 million Argentines face health risks from exposure to pesticides. "When we arrived here nobody told us that it was dangerous for our health," said Silvia Ponce. "Our children play every day in soybean and cotton crops."
*
Photo by Jean-Jerome Destouches//Hans Lucas Studio/VICE News
Marisa Gutman runs a center in the nearby city of Saenz Pena dedicated to children with disabilities from Avia Terai and other villages in the area, many of which are also surrounded by GM crops that are sprayed with glyphosate. "Many of the children in my center suffer of severe congenital diseases. They have multiple disabilities," she said. "For us, soybean means illness."
*
Photo by Jean-Jerome Destouches//Hans Lucas Studio/VICE News
Ángel Cano, Aixa's father, works in a brick-making workshop close to the house. He says that pesticide planes pass by several times a day, though the frequency depends on the weather. "There was a meeting in Avia Terai where farmers agreed to warn us before they sprayed the chemicals by plane so we could protect ourselves and our water well, but they never did," he said. "I knew a guy who used to grow soybean and used a lot of Roundup, but now he had to stop working because his skin started burning. He went to the doctor who told him that he has a skin cancer."
*
Follow Jean-Jerome Destouches on Twitter: @DestouchesJJ

Friday, May 13, 2016

Nearly half of US honey hives collapsed in past 12 months

Bee genocide: Nearly half of US honey hives collapsed in past 12 months

The US consumes $15 billion  worth of food pollinated by bees. © Fabrizio Bensch
The shocking, and seemingly irreversible, destruction of the US honeybee population took a huge hit in the past year, with 44 percent of all hives collapsing between April 2015 and April 2016.
This was the second worst year for colony losses since the "Beepocolypse" started a decade ago, according to The Bee Informed Partnership, the collaboration between the US Department of Agriculture, research labs, and universities that is tracking the alarming numbers.
Honeybee hives are generally inactive during the winter before being rejuvenated in the summer in a natural cycle, but this past season, colony collapses were three times higher than the "acceptable rate".
READ MORE: Major pesticide brand dropping bee-killing chemical
The varroa mite, first introduced to the US via Florida in 1995, and pesticides are thought to be the main causes of the collapse, although shipping them in trucks across the country to pollinate monocropped farms is also thought to stress them out.
While the crisis is largely caused by humans, they also suffer since honeybees pollinate US$15 billion worth of food crops in the US, one third of the supply.
The little yellow and black insects are also vulnerable to lobbying from the pesticide industry, led by the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which downplayed the bee genocide last year, saying "the issue has been way overblown" anddescribing it as "hype."
"We’re not in a battle against nature," Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the Guardian. "It’s an agricultural management issue."
Unlike in the US, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) introduced a EU-wide ban on pesticides known as neonicotinoids, which are known to attack the nervous and immune systems of bees, leaving them open to disease.
While Logomasini argues that "the Europeans jumped the gun" on the matter, Friends of the Earth says ALEC is "trying to manufacture doubt and spin the science to downplay the role of pesticides."

Almost Half of US Honeybee Hives Collapsed Last Year

Almost Half of US Honeybee Hives Collapsed Last Year

The great American beepocolypse continues.

| Tue May 10, 2016 6:02 PM EDT
About a decade ago, beekeepers began noticing unusually steep annual hive die-offs. At first, they'd find that bees had simply abandoned hives during the winter months—a phenomenon deemed "colony collapse disorder." In more recent years, winter losses have continued at high levels, and summer-season colony collapses have spiked. The Bee Informed Partnership, a US Department of Agriculture-funded collaboration of research labs and universities nationwide, tracks this annual beepocolypse, and the latest results, for the year spanning April 2015 to April 2016, are a real buzzkill:

Bee Informed Partnership

"Acceptable winter loss" measures what beekeepers consider normal attrition. Last season, total losses were nearly triple the acceptable rate—forcing beekeepers to scramble to form new hives, an expensive and time-consuming process. They're not the only ones with a big problem on their hands: About a third of the US diet comes from crops that rely on pollination, the great bulk of which comes from these beleaguered hives.
So far, researchers have not come up with one definitive reason for the dire state of bee health. Suspects swarm like characters in a drawing-room murder mystery. "A clear culprit is the varroa mite, a lethal parasite that can easily spread between colonies," the report states. "Pesticides and malnutrition caused by changing land use patterns are also likely taking a toll, especially among commercial beekeepers."
As I've written about in the past, neonicitinoid pesticides and a new class of fungicides likely share much of the blame for the vast honeybee die-offs; more here, here, and here. Unfortunately, these chemicals are still widely used on farm fields, and hotly promoted by agrichemical companies.



Tom Philpott

Food and Ag Correspondent Tom Philpott is the food and ag correspondent for Mother Jones. He can be reached at tphilpott@motherjones.com, or on Twitter at @tomphilpott. RSS |

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Farmers worry about bee numbers decline

Farmers worry about bee numbers decline

Watermelon yields could be down as much as 30%

A yet unquantified die-off of bees in the Comarca Lagunera region of the northern states of Coahuila and Durango has farmers worried about the impact it may have on the pollination of their crops.
Many crops are greatly dependent on bee pollination, and the slightest drop in bee population can severely affect their production.
One of those crops is watermelon, whose producers are anticipating a 30% drop in yield during the current season.
The president of a Comarca Lagunera producers’ association explained that to pollinate one hectare of watermelon plants, two or three beehives are required. Jesús Alejandro Pereda Herrera said that although production also depends on other factors, a drop of 30% attributed to a single source “is no small issue.”
Researchers at the Agrarian Autonomous University Antonio Narro have undertaken to determine the reason for the massive bee die-off, calculated to have reduced the insects’ population in the region by 50%.
As an immediate emergency measure, the team led by José Luis Reyes Carrillo received 62 samples from beehives located throughout the La Laguna region. The first stage of testing ruled out the presence of tracheal parasites, Varroa mites and zombie flies as the cause of death.
Reyes’ team has shared the samples with the National Service for Agrofood Health, Safety and Quality (Senasica), which will determine if the die-off has been caused by the use of pesticides, particularly those used to combat the sugarcane aphid plague that recently affected the region’s sorghum plantations.
The European Union has determined that neonicotinoid pesticides negatively affect bee populations. We’ve asked Senasica to determine if those compounds are present in our honey, bee and beehive samples,” said Reyes.
Bee mortality, he continued, could affect not only watermelon crops but melon or squash as well.
Local specialists have determined that about 250 different plant species depend on bees to complete their pollination cycle.
The impact of the bee loss is just starting to be quantified, said Reyes. “According to a 2015 federal Agriculture Secretariat (Sagarpa) census, there were 8,000 beehives in the region, but after polling producers we’ve found just over 6,000.”
“We estimate that we’ve already lost over 3,000 beehives because there are many small producers that don’t belong to any association, and therefore haven’t been thoroughly tallied.”
The results of the joint research will be presented in June during the International Beekeeping Congress to be held in Mérida, Yucatán, where experts will discuss the repercussions of the high numbers of bee mortality for other insect species, including the monarch butterfly.
Source: Milenio (sp)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Garden-care giant to drop chemicals linked to bee declines


  Garden-care giant to drop chemicals linked to bee declines






DENVER (AP) — Amid ominous warnings about threats to pollinators and the food crops they make possible, garden-care giant Ortho said Tuesday it will stop using a class of chemicals widely believed to harm the most important pollinators of all: bees.
The company plans to phase out chemicals known as neonicotinoids by 2021 in eight of its products used to control garden pests and diseases.
Ortho is believed to be the first garden products brand to announce it will stop using the chemicals, said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Environmental Health Program at the Center for Biological Diversity.
She called it "fantastic news."
 
The chemicals, called neonics for short, attack the central nervous systems of insects, killing them or making them vulnerable to predators and deadly diseases, researchers say.
Neonics and other pesticides, along with disease and declining diversity in gardens and landscapes, are among the causes of declining bee populations worldwide, a United Nations study released in February said.
About one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and honeybees are responsible for 80 percent of that pollination.
Ortho will phase out neonicotinoids in three products for roses, flowers, trees and shrubs by 2017 and in other products later, said Tim Martin, the company's vice president and general manager.
The change might require gardeners to apply the reformulated products more frequently, but it will be easier to target pests while reducing the chances of hurting bees, he said.
Ortho is a division of Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. The parent company reported sales of $3.02 billion last year but doesn't break out statistics for its divisions.
The severity of neonics' effects on bees appears to vary depending on the type of crops they are used on, according to a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California's environmental agency released in January. Another study published last year says neonics might hit wild bumblebees harder than domestically raised honeybees.
Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, the top manufacturers of neonics, have said the research has exaggerated the risks and understated the benefits.
Concern about bee health is growing. The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill last week that would allow only certified applicators, farmers and veterinarians to apply pesticides containing neonics.
In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would consider whether to protect two species of wild bumblebees under the Endangered Species Act amid declines in their numbers.
The environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, which asked federal officials to consider protecting the bees, said neonics were a factor in the bees' decline.
It's not yet clear what effect Ortho's decision will have on the health of the overall bee population. Neonics are used in a number of chemicals applied to food and textile crops such as corn and cotton as well as home gardens.
But May Berenbaum, a bee expert and professor of entomology at the University of Illinois, said homeowners use a significant amount of pesticides, and introducing alternatives to neonics is important.
"There are still profound problems (for bees), but this is a step toward removing one contributor to some of the problems," she said.
Berenbaum cautioned that the replacement pesticides could have their own problems. "This is not the end. This is no time for complacency," she said.
___
Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/dan-elliott.





Friday, October 2, 2015

Agricultural Workers Diagnosed with Cancer Sue Monsanto

Agricultural Workers Diagnosed with Cancer Sue Monsanto

As numerous other lawsuits are pending
published in Natural Society 10/02/2015
Print Friendly
pesticides-roundup-bottles-735-335
Julie Fidler
by Julie Fidler
Posted on October 2, 2015
Monsanto is being sued again, this time by 2 separate agricultural workers who allege the agribusiness’ Roundup herbicide caused their cancers.
The farm worker and horticultural assistant also say Monsanto intentionally misled the public and regulators about the dangers of Roundup. [1]
Enrique Rubio, 58, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on September 22. Rubio, a former farm worker in California, Texas, and Oregon, dutifully sprayed fields of cucumbers, onions, and other vegetable crops with Roundup and other pesticides until 1995, when he was diagnosed with bone cancer, according to the lawsuit.
The second suit was filed by Judi Fitzgerald, 64, also on September 22, in federal court in New York. The suit alleges that Fitzgerald was exposed to Roundup in the 1990’s when she was working at a horticultural products company. She was diagnosed with leukemia about 3 years ago. [2]
Fitzgerald’s lawsuit states:
“Monsanto assured the public that Roundup was harmless. In order to prove this, Monsanto championed falsified data and attacked legitimate studies that revealed its dangers. Monsanto led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe.”
Both lawsuits claim that Roundup was a “defective” product and “unreasonably dangerous” to consumers, and that Monsanto knew or should have known that glyphosate – the main chemical in Roundup – could cause cancer and other illnesses and injuries, and failed to properly warn users of the risks.
Additionally, the lawsuits allege that the Environmental Protection Agency altered an initial classification for glyphosate from “possibly carcinogenic to humans” to “evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans” after Monsanto pressured them to do so. Though the EPA likely knew glyphosate was carcinogenic for some time as well.
Six months ago, the World Health Organization, citing several studies showing links between cancer and glyphosate, said that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Monsanto says the findings are incorrect.
“Decades of experience within agriculture and regulatory reviews using the most extensive worldwide human health databases ever compiled on an agricultural product contradict the claims in the suit which will be vigorously defended,” spokeswoman Charla Lord told Reuters.
In early September, California’s Environmental Protection Agency announced that it planned to add glyphosate to a list of known carcinogens. Roundup may even be required to carry a cancer-label in CA soon.
Additionally, a 2012 ruling against Monsanto was upheld by an appeals court in Lyon, France. The company had been found guilty of poisoning farmer Paul Francois. Monsanto says it will appeal the decision.
There are numerous other pending lawsuits against Monsanto.
Additional Sources:
[1] Reuters
[2] NYC Today
EcoWatch
Featured image credit: REUTERS/CHARLES PLATIAU

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pesticide found in 70 percent of Massachusetts’ honey samples

Pesticide found in 70 percent of Massachusetts’ honey samples

Harvard study says it's among class of pesticides implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder

July 23, 2015 | Editor's Pick
Honeybee605
More than 70 percent of pollen and honey samples collected from foraging bees in Massachusetts contain at least one neonicotinoid, a class of pesticide that has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which adult bees abandon their hives during winter, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study appeared online in the July 23 issue of the Journal of Environmental Chemistry.
“Data from this study clearly demonstrated the ubiquity of neonicotinoids in pollen and honey samples that bees are exposed to during the seasons when they are actively foraging across Massachusetts. Levels of neonicotinoids that we found in this study fall into ranges that could lead to detrimental health effects in bees, including CCD,” said Chensheng (Alex) Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School and lead author of the study.
Since 2006, there have been significant losses of honeybee colonies. Scientists, policymakers, farmers, and beekeepers are concerned with this problem because bees are prime pollinators of roughly one-third of all crops worldwide.
Previous studies analyzed either stored pollen collected from hives or pollen samples collected from bees at a single point in time. In this study, the Harvard Chan School researchers looked at pollen samples collected over time — during spring and summer months when bees forage — from the same set of hives across Massachusetts. Collecting samples in this way enabled the researchers to determine variations in levels of eight neonicotinoids, and to identify high-risk locations or months for neonicotinoid exposure for bees. The researchers worked with 62 Massachusetts beekeepers who volunteered to collect monthly samples of pollen and honey from foraging bees, from April through August 2013, using pollen traps on the landings of beehives. The beekeepers then sent the samples to the researchers.
The researchers analyzed 219 pollen and 53 honey samples from 62 hives, from 10 out of 14 counties in Massachusetts. They found neonicotinoids in pollen and honey for each month collected, in each location — suggesting that bees are at risk of neonicotinoid exposure any time they are foraging anywhere in Massachusetts.
The most commonly detected neonicotinoid was imidacloprid, followed by dinotefuran. Particularly high concentrations of neonicotinoids were found in Worcester County in April, in Hampshire County in May, in Suffolk County in July, and in Essex County in June, suggesting that, in these counties, certain months pose significant risks to bees.
The new findings suggest that neonicotinoids are being used throughout Massachusetts. Not only do these pesticides pose a significant risk for the survival of honeybees, but they also may pose health risks for people inhaling neonicotinoid-contaminated pollen, Lu said. “The data presented in this study should serve as a basis for public policy that aims to reduce neonicotinoid exposure,” he said.
Other Harvard Chan School authors of the study included doctoral student Chi-Hsuan Chang, research fellow Lin Tao, and research associate Mei Chen.
Funding for this study came from the Woodshouse Foundation and the Harvard-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health.
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