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Pitfalls in pesticide regulation that fail to identify critical aspects of chemical toxicity

Expenditure for discovery and development of a new crop protection product is now approaching the $ 300 million mark, while at the same time underpinning critical information gaps in environmental safety assessment. Large information gaps also exist for the safety of a vast number of existing chemicals in commerce. The catastrophy in the insect world inflicted by time-reinforced toxicity of neonicotinoids is a case in point. We are on the brink of an ecological Armageddon as a result of pitfalls in pesticide regulation that fail to identify critical aspects of chemical toxicity.

Irish bird populations suffering serious decline

Birdwatch Ireland's research has shown that the country has lost half a million waterbirds or almost 40% in less than 20 years. Among species in decline are Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and Pochard (Aythya ferina). It says that there has been an "almost complete extermination" of farmland birds such as the Corncrake (Crex crex).

Damselflies are being harmed by thiacloprid

Damselfly populations are being harmed by insecticides as researchers find the wildlife scourge of neonicotinoids continues to grow. Some chemicals in this group have already been banned by the EU but thiacloprid is still in widespread use. Similar chemicals in the neonicotinoid family have already been tied to severe decline in bee populations and now it appears the damage is more widespread.

Pesticide Exposure Linked to Teen Depression in Agricultural Communities

Adolescents exposed to elevated levels of pesticides are at an increased risk of depression, according to a new study led by Jose R. Suarez-Lopez, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The study was published online (ahead of print) in June 2019 in the journal International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health.

Canada’s grassland birds have plummeted in number since the 1970s

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative in Canada released the second State of Canada’s Birds report last week. The report, a joint project of Environment Canada and numerous government and conservation organizations, looks at the status of Canada’s bird populations going back to 1970.The study found that shorebirds, grassland birds, and aerial insectivores were in rapid decline across Canada, with numbers down 40, 57, and 59 per cent since 1970.

US beekeepers lost 40% of honeybee colonies over past year

Beekeepers across the US lost four in 10 of their honeybee colonies over the past year, as the worst winter on record for tracked bee populations raised fresh concerns over the plight of the crucial pollinators. Over the past winter, 37% of honeybee colonies were lost to beekeepers, the worst winter decline recorded in the 13-year history of a nationwide survey aimed at charting bees’ fortunes. Overall, 40% of colonies died off over the entire year to April, which is above the 38% average since the survey began.

Plants becoming extinct 500 times faster, study reveals

Humans have caused almost 600 plant species to be wiped from existence over the past 250 years in a long term trend which scientists have described as an “unprecedented” rate of decline. An analysis of all plant extinction records documented from across the world by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Stockholm University found 571 known plant species had completely disappeared from the wild since the industrial revolution. This is more than twice the number of birds, mammals and amphibians which have become extinct over the same period combined.

Neonicotinoids and ectoparasitic mites synergistically impact honeybees

The Western honeybee, Apis mellifera, is the most important managed pollinator globally and has recently experienced unsustainably high colony losses. Synergistic interactions among stressors are believed to be primarily responsible. However, despite clear evidence of strong effect on honeybee longevity of widely-employed neonicotinoid insecticides and of the ubiquitous ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, no data exist to show synergistic effects between these two stressors.

Effects of clothianidin-treated seed on the arthropod community in a mid-Atlantic no-till corn agroecosystem

We assessed the community-level effects of clothianidin-treated seed on the diversity and abundance of arthropod communities in a no-till corn agroecosystem over a single growing season.Epigeal and foliage-dwelling communities were disturbed by the clothianidin seed treatment, with significant negative and positive changes in taxa abundances. Clothianidin reduced the abundance of minute pirate bugs by 66.2%, lady beetles by 44.7%, ants by 43.4%, ground beetle adults and larvae by 31.7%, and rove beetles by 44.1% during the early corn growth stages.