A new peer-reviewed study shows an explosion in the toxicity of U.S. agriculture for insects over the past 25 years since neonicotinoid pesticides were introduced. The study found that U.S. agriculture is 48 times more toxic to insect life, and that neonicotinoids account for 92 percent of the increase in toxicity.
Published in the journal PLOS ONE, An assessment of acute insecticide toxicity loading of chemical pesticides used on agricultural land in the United States, is the first study to quantify how hazardous our agricultural lands have become for insect life by providing a way to compare changes in the toxicity of U.S. agriculture year-to-year. The increase in toxic load measured by the study is consistent with recent reports of dramatic declines in beneficial insects and bird populations. The study comes on the heels of the first meta-analysis of global insect decline, which found that 40 percent of insect species face extinction in coming decades, leading the authors to warn of “catastrophic ecosystem collapse” if we don’t change the way we farm.