Insecticide contamination of surface waters regularly occurs across the U.S. in concentrations that have severe detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems. This was found by a recent study by the Institute for Environmental Sciences Landau, Germany. According to their findings, insecticide contamination occurs widespread throughout the United States and risks are expected to increase in the future. This studies shows that insecticides thus threaten one of the most important natural resources and highlights the urgent need to re-evaluate current regulatory practices in the U.S.
Insecticides are applied in large volumes across the United States to protect agricultural crops from insect pests. As has been shown before through studies e.g. by the USGS or the U.S. EPA, these substances can be transported from agricultural fields into adjacent water bodies via various pathways where they have profound adverse effects on both water quality and biodiversity.
Therefore, insecticides have to pass an elaborated environmental risk assessment procedure before being sold and applied to crops. During this process, regulatory threshold concentrations are derived, which should not be surpassed, in order to prevent adverse effects in non-target environments such as surface waters.
These thresholds were compared to actual field concentrations of 32 commonly applied insecticides, obtained from 259 peer-reviewed publications reporting insecticide concentrations in more than 600 water bodies in the U.S.
In this extensive meta-analysis, about half of the total of 5817 measured insecticide concentrations exceeded these critical thresholds; more so, about one fourth of all concentrations surpassed these thresholds by a factor of ten or more.
Thus insecticides occur frequently at adverse concentrations and exceed levels that were expected during the pesticides’ approval process. In addition, risks were even more pronounced for smaller water bodies, which is especially concerning considering that they denote critical habitats for endangered species and serve as important spawning grounds for fish.
In particular newer insecticides, such as pyrethroids and neonicotinoids, were of particular concern, replacing older substances but thereby failing to provide a more environmentally safe alternative.
“One of our biggest concerns is that environmental risks did not decrease over time.”, added Jakob Wolfram. As a result, insecticides’ current use practices may not be in accordance with environmental protection goals, requiring a critical reassessment of their environmental risks.
In the future, insecticide application may even increase due to changing weather conditions and intensifying pressure from invasive pest species. Addressing this central challenge to surface water integrity appears thus more pressing than ever, if sustainable and safe use of water resources should be achieved in the United States.
University of Koblenz-Landau
Department of Environmental Sciences
Prof. Dr. Ralf Schulz
Phone: +49 6341 280-31327
“Meta-Analysis of Insecticides in United States Surface Waters: Status and Future Implications” by Jakob Wolfram, Sebastian Stehle, Sascha Bub, Lara L. Petschick, Ralf Schulz. The study was published on November 26, 2018 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Giovanna Marasco-Albry | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
A solution for cleaning up PFAS, one of the world's most intractable pollutants
06.12.2019 | Colorado State University
Diamonds in your devices: Powering the next generation of energy storage
05.12.2019 | Tokyo University of Science
University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making
In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...
With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction
The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...
Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.
Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds
Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.
In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
06.12.2019 | Earth Sciences
06.12.2019 | Life Sciences
06.12.2019 | Information Technology