EPA: Neonicotinoid Pesticides Pose Serious Risks to Birds, Aquatic Life
Separate analyses also found the pesticides pose significant danger to aquatic invertebrates, which play a crucial role in supporting larger ecosystems.
The troubling assessments come on the heels of earlier EPA analyses and thousands of scientific studies that have identified substantial risks to pollinators and aquatic invertebrates from this class of pesticides.
"The EPA's assessments confirm neonicotinoid pesticides are extremely harmful to birds and aquatic life at the very center of our ecosystems," said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's environmental health program. "With bird, aquatic invertebrate and bee populations in decline, the only way to prevent further catastrophic damage is to follow Europe's lead and ban these dangerous pesticides."
In last week's assessment the EPA found that risks posed to certain birds from eating neonic-treated seeds exceeded the agency's level of concern—the level at which harm is known to occur—by as much as 200-fold. In addition to killing birds, a recent scientific study also found, neonic pesticides significantly impair the migratory ability of seed-eating songbirds.
The analysis found that if neonic-treated seeds make up just 1 percent to 6 percent of a bird's diet, serious harms could result.
Europe has instituted a temporary ban on neonicotinoids based on their harms to pollinators. Canada's pesticide regulatory agency has recommended banning the most widely used neonicotinoid based on harms to aquatic ecosystems.
"The EPA's own research leaves no question that neonicotinoids pose unacceptable risks," said Burd. "But while other developed nations wisely restrict use of these dangerous poisons, the United States has refused to take even the most basic steps to protect our wildlife from neonics."
Earlier this year a common-sense rule that would have placed limited restrictions on neonics when commercial honeybees were present in fields was changed from mandatory to voluntary.
The EPA is currently in the process of reanalyzing neonic impacts to humans and the environment and say it will decide whether to reapprove their use by the end of 2018.
Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides known to have both acute and chronic effects on honeybees, birds, butterflies and other pollinator species, and they are a major factor in overall pollinator declines. These systemic insecticides cause entire plants, including pollen and fruit, to become toxic to pollinators; they are also slow to break down and therefore build up in the environment.
A large and growing body of independent science links neonicotinoids to catastrophic bee declines. Twenty-nine independent scientists who conducted a global review of more than 1,000 independent studies on neonicotinoids found overwhelming evidence linking the pesticides to declines in populations of bees, birds, earthworms, butterflies and other wildlife.
'Kicking Ass for Her Generation': Applause for 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg as EU Chief Pledges $1 Trillion to Curb Climate Threat
By Julia Conley
Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged more than $1 trillion over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.
In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis.
‘Plastic Is Lethal’: Groundbreaking Report Reveals Health Risks at Every Stage in Plastics Life Cycle
With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the world's oceans every year, there is growing concern about the proliferation of plastics in the environment. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the full impact of plastic pollution on human health.
But a first-of-its-kind study released Tuesday sets out to change that. The study, Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, is especially groundbreaking because it looks at the health impacts of every stage in the life cycle of plastics, from the extraction of the fossil fuels that make them to their permanence in the environment. While previous studies have focused on particular products, manufacturing processes or moments in the creation and use of plastics, this study shows that plastics pose serious health risks at every stage in their production, use and disposal.
Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world's sixth most polluted city.
But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.
A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, was sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday, the Ecuadorian government announced.