Neonicotinoids discovered in a little more than half of both urban and agricultural streams in the United Sates and Puerto Rico

steramA new study released by USGS, published in the Environmental Chemistry journal, has determined pervasive neonicotinoid pesticide contamination in more than 50% of US and Puerto Rican streams across 24 states. These pesticides have been linked to the wide spread death of bees in a variety of States.

“In the study, neonicotinoids occurred throughout the year in urban streams while pulses of neonicotinoids were typical in agricultural streams during crop planting season,” said USGS research chemist Michelle Hladik, the report’s lead author.

Six different types of neonicotnoids were tested with at least one found in more than half of the sampled streams. Detections of the six tested neonicotinoids was differentiated: imidicloprid was found in 37 percent of the samples in the national study, clothianidin in 24 percent, thiamethoxam in 21 percent, dinotefuran in 13 percent, acetamiprid in 3 percent, and thiacloprid was not detected.

“The occurrence of low levels in streams throughout the year supports the need for future research on the potential impacts of neonicotinoids on aquatic life and terrestrial animals that rely on aquatic life,” said USGS scientist Kathryn Kuivila, the research team leader. “These results will serve as an important baseline for that future work.”

The environmental study was conducted from 2011-2014 and developed as part of an ongoing investigation into pesticide and other contaminant levels in streams.

“This research will support the overall goals of the Strategy, by helping to understand whether these water-borne pesticides, particularly at the low levels shown in this study, pose a risk for pollinators,” said Mike Focazio, program coordinator for the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program.


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