Neonicotinoids are the new DDT

Bee
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"It's the new DDT: a class of poisons licensed for widespread use before they had been properly tested, which are now ripping the natural world apart." writes George Monbiot in an article in The Guardian.

In another massive human blunder, neonicotinoids are already in many of the pesticides used around the world, though we are only just now realizing the devastating effect they have on the natural world.

Researchers now know that this class of poisons is responsible for many of the bee deaths we've witnessed over recent years, and was even the culprit behind the death of over 50,000 bumble bees in a single parking lot.

Recent research has shown that the issue is more complex than we thought, with a veritable witches brew of pesticides causing the illness and death of bees and other pollinators. But neonicotinoids are poisons at the heart of the problem, underscoring not only the problem with the bees, but also with humans rushing to use a product with unknown consequences.

Monbiot writes:

It is only now, when neonicotinoids are already the world's most widely deployed insecticides, that we are beginning to understand how extensive their impacts are. Just as the manufacturers did for DDT, the corporations which make these toxins claimed that they were harmless to species other than the pests they targeted. Just as they did for DDT, they have threatened people who have raised concerns, published misleading claims and done all they can to bamboozle the public. And, as if to ensure that the story sticks to the old script, some governments have collaborated in this effort. Among the most culpable is the government of the United Kingdom.

The piece is filled with some frightening facts about this calls of poisons, such as that neonicotinoids are highly persistent chemicals -- when sprayed, 90% or more enters the soil and can last up to 19 years there, so that with each application the soil becomes even more toxic. And we all know what happens to a portion of pollution that enters the soil -- it goes into the water table.

What is even more frightening is how powerful this class of poison actually is: "The quantities required to destroy insect life are astonishingly small: by volume these poisons are 10,000 times as powerful as DDT."

If this makes neonicotinoids the new DDT, does this make bees the new bald eagle? Quite possibly -- only with far more devastating effects for humans as we are dependent on the very bees we are killing. Read the piece in full over at The Guardian. This is something everyone needs to be educated about, and fast.

Tags: Bees | Pesticides