"‘Reduced Risk’ Pesticides Are Widespread in California Streams"

"Insect and weed killers designed to replace compounds that cause neurodevelopmental problems in animals and people pose their own set of risks."

"A new generation of pesticides promoted as safe alternatives to compounds shown to endanger the environment and public health are turning up in California streams at toxic levels, researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey report.

Insect populations are plummeting around the world, leaving scientists scrambling to understand the relative contributions of factors as diverse as habitat loss, parasites, climate change and pesticides in a race to reverse the declines. Teasing out pesticides’ role in this biodiversity crisis has proven a daunting task, challenging scientists to keep pace with the steady stream of chemicals released to replace those found to be harmful.

In the new study, USGS scientists developed tools specially designed to detect newer classes of pesticides including neonicotinoid insecticides, best known for their suspected role in driving bee declines. To understand how these so-called “new generation” pesticides are affecting aquatic ecosystems, the scientists sampled scores of small streams along California’s Central Coast, from Sonoma County to Santa Barbara. The region is an “ideal setting” to get a broad sense of how pesticides are affecting streams, the scientists said, because it contains both intensive agriculture and large urban areas where pesticides are used."

Liza Gross reports for Inside Climate News February 1, 2022.

Source: Inside Climate News, 02/01/2022