For the first time, scientific researchers have tied the most popular and commonly used insecticides to the reduction in farmland birds. The report findings represent an increase in the already realized dangers of chemical agricultural products, such as those made my Monsanto, Bayer, Sygenta, Dow, and Dupont. The report also warns that the pollution created by the nerve agents used in weed killers is now “threatening all food production.” Neonicotinoids were first developed by Bayer.
Neonicotinoids have been linked to a recent rash of bird deaths. Farmland bird numbers have dropped significantly, and researchers believe the chemicals in weed killers are responsible. GMO crops, and the pesticides and herbicides to used to foster their growth, have also been considered as a primary cause for the massive bee population decline.
A Bayer CropScience representative, a company that makes the neonicotinoid, chastised by the study, disagreeing with the study’s findings. “It provides no substantial evidence of the alleged indirect effects of imidacloprid on insectivorous birds. Bayer CropScience is working with the Dutch authorities and agricultural stakeholders to ensure the safe use of imidacloprid-containing crop protection products and to preserve the environment.”
The Bayer spokesmen also added a claim that neonicotinoids have gone through “extensive risk assessments” which proves the chemical is safe for the environment when used according to label instructions and properly. Related research published in the journal Functional Ecology concluded that neonicotinoids damage the natural ability of bees to collect food. As the Harvard and multiple other scientific research has pointed out, the chemicals present in top-selling agricultural products, like Monsanto’s Roundup Ready, has a negative impact on the nervous system of bees. The Functional Ecology journal said the researchers used small tags to track bees and found that the pollinators exposed to insecticide gathered far less pollen.
The European Union enacted a two-year ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, but the suspected impact of the chemicals has not been realized until now, according to the report published in The Guardian. The peer reviewed research which was originally published in the journal Nature, a renowned leader in environmental studies, noted that tree sparrows, starlings, and swallows are among the bird species most impacted by neonicotinoids.
Unlike the European Union and a host of other nations which have banned or limited the use of neonicotinoids and GMO crops, the United States is waving them on for continued use. A bevvy of former Monsanto executives and attorneys were appointed to key positions in the USDA, the FDA, and the EPA. Many feel the influence by the former staffers, some still stockholders, is curtailing an honest review of the impact of the chemical insecticides and genetically modified seeds.
According to the report, at least 95 percent of neonicotinoids applied to crops find their way into the environment at large. The chemical reportedly kills honeybees, the pollinators the human race heavily relies upon, other insects, and birds at an alarming rate. Honeybees provide pollination for 70 percent of the food we grow to eat. Bees don’t pollinate corn, but the pollen drifts elsewhere where it makes contact with bees.
A recent Harvard study says that neonicotinoids are to blame for colony collapse disorder in the honeybee population and the creation of superweeds. But the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA continue to claim neonicotinoids are safe. During the Harvard study, about half of the bee colonies which had been exposed to neonicotinoids died. The honeybee study was published in the Bulletin of Insectology. The university scientists studied 18 honeybee colonies in Massachusetts for about one year, and reviewed how even low doses of two types of neonicotinoids, clothianidin and imidacloprid, impacted healthy honeybee hives over the winter.
University of Sussex professor David Goulson was not involved with the environmental study, but found the report convincing upon review. Goulson said, “The simplest, most obvious explanation is that highly toxic substances that kill insects lead to declines in things that eat insects.” It does not take an advanced degree in environmental studies to follow the good professor’s common sense logic.
As children, we were often told “we are what we eat.” Apparently, in addition to bones, blood, and muscles, we are also now quite filled with chemicals – despite eating healthy and growing our own food. Wind, rain, and insects themselves transport neonicotinoids and other chemical agricultural products away from where they were spread and into our own backyard gardens and farms – unless we are growing inside a massive greenhouse with water that has not been exposed to the flowing and blowing insecticides.
Professor Nigel Raine, from the Canadian University of Guelph, had this to say about the imidacloprid neonicotinoid and its impact on the birds and the bees:
“Exposure to this neonicotinoid seems to prevent bees from being able to learn essential skills. These tests [for lethal effects] should be conducted for extended periods to detect the effects of chronic exposure.”
What do you think should be done to protect the birds, bees, the environment, and ultimately the food supply, form neonicotinoids?