Salt Spring Island, Canada
Salt Spring Island, Canada

Time filter

Source Type

Simon-Delso N.,University Utrecht | Simon-Delso N.,Beekeeping Research and Information Center | Amaral-Rogers V.,Buglife | Belzunces L.P.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 28 more authors.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research | Year: 2015

Since their discovery in the late 1980s, neonicotinoid pesticides have become the most widely used class of insecticides worldwide, with large-scale applications ranging from plant protection (crops, vegetables, fruits), veterinary products, and biocides to invertebrate pest control in fish farming. In this review, we address the phenyl-pyrazole fipronil together with neonicotinoids because of similarities in their toxicity, physicochemical profiles, and presence in the environment. Neonicotinoids and fipronil currently account for approximately one third of the world insecticide market; the annual world production of the archetype neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, was estimated to be ca. 20,000 tonnes active substance in 2010. There were several reasons for the initial success of neonicotinoids and fipronil: (1) there was no known pesticide resistance in target pests, mainly because of their recent development, (2) their physicochemical properties included many advantages over previous generations of insecticides (i.e., organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids, etc.), and (3) they shared an assumed reduced operator and consumer risk. Due to their systemic nature, they are taken up by the roots or leaves and translocated to all parts of the plant, which, in turn, makes them effectively toxic to herbivorous insects. The toxicity persists for a variable period of time— depending on the plant, its growth stage, and the amount of pesticide applied. Awide variety of applications are available, including the most common prophylactic non-Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) application by seed coating. As a result of their extensive use and physicochemical properties, these substances can be found in all environmental compartments including soil, water, and air. Neonicotinoids and fipronil operate by disrupting neural transmission in the central nervous system of invertebrates. Neonicotinoids mimic the action of neurotransmitters, while fipronil inhibits neuro-nal receptors. In doing so, they continuously stimulate neurons leading ultimately to death of target invertebrates. Like virtually all insecticides, they can also have lethal and suble-thal impacts on non-target organisms, including insect predators and vertebrates. Furthermore, a range of synergistic effects with other stressors have been documented. Here, we review extensively their metabolic pathways, showing how they form both compound-specific and common metabolites which can themselves be toxic. These may result in prolonged toxicity. Considering their wide commercial expansion, mode of action, the systemic properties in plants, persistence and environmental fate, coupled with limited information about the toxicity profiles of these compounds and their metabolites, neonicotinoids and fipronil may entail significant risks to the environment. A global evaluation of the potential collateral effects of their use is therefore timely. The present paper and subsequent chapters in this review of the global literature explore these risks and show a growing body of evidence that persistent, low concentrations of these insecticides pose serious risks of undesirable environmental impacts. © The Author(s) 2014.


Jepson P.C.,Oregon State University | Guzy M.,Oregon State University | Blaustein K.,Oregon State University | Sow M.,Enda Pronat | And 3 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

We outline an approach to pesticide risk assessment that is based upon surveys of pesticide use throughout West Africa. We have developed and used new risk assessment models to provide, to our knowledge, the first detailed, geographically extensive, scientifically based analysis of pesticide risks for this region. Human health risks from dermal exposure to adults and children are severe enough in many crops to require long periods of up to three weeks when entry to fields should be restricted. This is impractical in terms of crop management, and regulatory action is needed to remove these pesticides from the marketplace. We also found widespread risks to terrestrial and aquatic wildlife throughout the region, and if these results were extrapolated to all similar irrigated perimeters in the Senegal and Niger River Basins, they suggest that pesticides could pose a significant threat to regional biodiversity. Our analyses are presented at the regional, national and village levels to promote regulatory advances but also local risk communication and management. Without progress in pesticide risk management, supported by participatory farmer education, West African agriculture provides a weak context for the sustainable intensification of agricultural production or for the adoption of new crop technologies. © 2014 The Authors.


Morrissey C.A.,University of Saskatchewan | Mineau P.,Pierre Mineau Consulting | Devries J.H.,Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research | Sanchez-Bayo F.,University of Sydney | And 3 more authors.
Environment International | Year: 2015

Neonicotinoids, broad-spectrum systemic insecticides, are the fastest growing class of insecticides worldwide and are now registered for use on hundreds of field crops in over 120 different countries. The environmental profile of this class of pesticides indicate that they are persistent, have high leaching and runoff potential, and are highly toxic to a wide range of invertebrates. Therefore, neonicotinoids represent a significant risk to surface waters and the diverse aquatic and terrestrial fauna that these ecosystems support. This review synthesizes the current state of knowledge on the reported concentrations of neonicotinoids in surface waters from 29 studies in 9 countries world-wide in tandem with published data on their acute and chronic toxicity to 49 species of aquatic insects and crustaceans spanning 12 invertebrate orders. Strong evidence exists that water-borne neonicotinoid exposures are frequent, long-term and at levels (geometric means=0.13μg/L (averages) and 0.63μg/L (maxima)) which commonly exceed several existing water quality guidelines. Imidacloprid is by far the most widely studied neonicotinoid (66% of the 214 toxicity tests reviewed) with differences in sensitivity among aquatic invertebrate species ranging several orders of magnitude; other neonicotinoids display analogous modes of action and similar toxicities, although comparative data are limited. Of the species evaluated, insects belonging to the orders Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera and Diptera appear to be the most sensitive, while those of Crustacea (although not universally so) are less sensitive. In particular, the standard test species Daphnia magna appears to be very tolerant, with 24-96hour LC50 values exceeding 100,000μg/L (geometric mean>44,000μg/L), which is at least 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than the geometric mean of all other invertebrate species tested. Overall, neonicotinoids can exert adverse effects on survival, growth, emergence, mobility, and behavior of many sensitive aquatic invertebrate taxa at concentrations at or below 1μg/L under acute exposure and 0.1μg/L for chronic exposure. Using probabilistic approaches (species sensitivity distributions), we recommend here that ecological thresholds for neonicotinoid water concentrations need to be below 0.2μg/L (short-term acute) or 0.035μg/L (long-term chronic) to avoid lasting effects on aquatic invertebrate communities. The application of safety factors may still be warranted considering potential issues of slow recovery, additive or synergistic effects and multiple stressors that can occur in the field. Our analysis revealed that 81% (22/27) and 74% (14/19) of global surface water studies reporting maximum and average individual neonicotinoid concentrations respectively, exceeded these thresholds of 0.2 and 0.035μg/L. Therefore, it appears that environmentally relevant concentrations of neonicotinoids in surface waters worldwide are well within the range where both short- and long-term impacts on aquatic invertebrate species are possible over broad spatial scales. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research, University of Sydney, University of Saskatchewan, Pierre Mineau Consulting and Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research
Type: | Journal: Environment international | Year: 2014

Neonicotinoids, broad-spectrum systemic insecticides, are the fastest growing class of insecticides worldwide and are now registered for use on hundreds of field crops in over 120 different countries. The environmental profile of this class of pesticides indicate that they are persistent, have high leaching and runoff potential, and are highly toxic to a wide range of invertebrates. Therefore, neonicotinoids represent a significant risk to surface waters and the diverse aquatic and terrestrial fauna that these ecosystems support. This review synthesizes the current state of knowledge on the reported concentrations of neonicotinoids in surface waters from 29 studies in 9 countries world-wide in tandem with published data on their acute and chronic toxicity to 49 species of aquatic insects and crustaceans spanning 12 invertebrate orders. Strong evidence exists that water-borne neonicotinoid exposures are frequent, long-term and at levels (geometric means=0.13g/L (averages) and 0.63g/L (maxima)) which commonly exceed several existing water quality guidelines. Imidacloprid is by far the most widely studied neonicotinoid (66% of the 214 toxicity tests reviewed) with differences in sensitivity among aquatic invertebrate species ranging several orders of magnitude; other neonicotinoids display analogous modes of action and similar toxicities, although comparative data are limited. Of the species evaluated, insects belonging to the orders Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera and Diptera appear to be the most sensitive, while those of Crustacea (although not universally so) are less sensitive. In particular, the standard test species Daphnia magna appears to be very tolerant, with 24-96hour LC50 values exceeding 100,000g/L (geometric mean>44,000g/L), which is at least 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than the geometric mean of all other invertebrate species tested. Overall, neonicotinoids can exert adverse effects on survival, growth, emergence, mobility, and behavior of many sensitive aquatic invertebrate taxa at concentrations at or below 1g/L under acute exposure and 0.1g/L for chronic exposure. Using probabilistic approaches (species sensitivity distributions), we recommend here that ecological thresholds for neonicotinoid water concentrations need to be below 0.2g/L (short-term acute) or 0.035g/L (long-term chronic) to avoid lasting effects on aquatic invertebrate communities. The application of safety factors may still be warranted considering potential issues of slow recovery, additive or synergistic effects and multiple stressors that can occur in the field. Our analysis revealed that 81% (22/27) and 74% (14/19) of global surface water studies reporting maximum and average individual neonicotinoid concentrations respectively, exceeded these thresholds of 0.2 and 0.035g/L. Therefore, it appears that environmentally relevant concentrations of neonicotinoids in surface waters worldwide are well within the range where both short- and long-term impacts on aquatic invertebrate species are possible over broad spatial scales.


Gibbons D.,Center for Conservation Science | Morrissey C.,University of Saskatchewan | Mineau P.,Pierre Mineau Consulting
Environmental Science and Pollution Research | Year: 2014

Concerns over the role of pesticides affecting vertebrate wildlife populations have recently focussed on systemic products which exert broad-spectrum toxicity. Given that the neonicotinoids have become the fastest-growing class of insecticides globally, we review here 150 studies of their direct (toxic) and indirect (e.g. food chain) effects on vertebrate wildlife-mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles. We focus on two neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and clothianidin, and a third insecticide, fipronil, which also acts in the same systemic manner. Imidacloprid and fipronil were found to be toxic to many birds and most fish, respectively. All three insecticides exert sub-lethal effects, ranging from genotoxic and cytotoxic effects, and impaired immune function, to reduced growth and reproductive success, often at concentrations well below those associated with mortality. Use of imidacloprid and clothianidin as seed treatments on some crops poses risks to small birds, and ingestion of even a few treated seeds could cause mortality or reproductive impairment to sensitive bird species. In contrast, environmental concentrations of imidacloprid and clothianidin appear to be at levels below those which will cause mortality to freshwater vertebrates, although sub-lethal effects may occur. Some recorded environmental concentrations of fipronil, however, may be sufficiently high to harm fish. Indirect effects are rarely considered in risk assessment processes and there is a paucity of data, despite the potential to exert population-level effects. Our research revealed two field case studies of indirect effects. In one, reductions in invertebrate prey from both imidacloprid and fipronil uses led to impaired growth in a fish species, and in another, reductions in populations in two lizard species were linked to effects of fipronil on termite prey. Evidence presented here suggests that the systemic insecticides, neonicotinoids and fipronil, are capable of exerting direct and indirect effects on terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate wildlife, thus warranting further review of their environmental safety. © 2014 The Author(s).

Loading Pierre Mineau Consulting collaborators
Loading Pierre Mineau Consulting collaborators