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Study Finds Pesticide Residues Linked to Infertility and Miscarriage

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) there is a connection between pesticide residues and an increased risk of infertility. Even in those who are able to conceive, there is a greater risk of miscarriage due to pesticide exposures. The study examined 325 women undergoing fertility treatments—researchers found a link between those who ate more fruits and vegetables high in pesticide residues and their likelihood of having a baby than those who did not.

Evaluation of leaching potential of three systemic neonicotinoid insecticides in vineyard soil

Dinotefuran (DNT), imidacloprid (IMD), and thiamethoxam (THM) are commonly used neonicotinoid insecticides in a variety of agriculture operations. Although these insecticides help growers control pest infestation, the residual environmental occurrence of insecticides may cause unintended adverse ecological consequences to non-target species. In this study, the leaching behavior of DNT, IMD, and THM was investigated in soils collected from an active AgriLife Research Extension Center (AREC) vineyard.

New rules on pesticides near schools to go into effect

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson praised the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for adopting new rules to further protect students and schools from pesticide exposure. New rules will take effect on Jan. 1 regulating pesticide use near schools and licensed child-care facilities. “Children, teachers, school staff, parents and school communities need safe healthy school environments to learn and succeed, and that includes protection from unintended, unhealthy pesticide exposure,” Torlakson said.

Hedgehog population may have halved in just five years

Hedgehog numbers could have dropped by as much as a half over the past five years, warns University of Sussex Professor Fiona Mathews ahead of the launch of a major new survey into their current population levels. She warned that a shortage of food could be a key reason for the hedgehog decline due to the conversion of lawns into parking spaces and the high use of pesticides in gardens.

Neonicotinoids reduce the strength and duration of a bumblebee’s buzz, which impairs foraging

Ecologists at the University of Stirling in Scotland have found that neonicotinoids reduce the strength and duration of a bumblebee’s buzz. Their study was published this week in the journal Scientific Reports. Buzzing is more important than you might think. The vibrations of a bee's wingbeat help it shake pollen from flowers and onto its body. This pollen then gets deposited on the next flower the bee visits, resulting in pollination. Less buzzing equals less pollination, and reduces the bees' ability to forage for themselves.

Neonicotinoid insecticides impair foraging behavior, navigation, learning, and memory in honey bees

The decline of pollinators worldwide is of growing concern and has been related to the use of plant protecting chemicals. Most studies have focused on three neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, currently subject to a moratorium in the EU. Here we focus on thiacloprid, a widely used cyano-substituted neonicotinoid thought to be less toxic to honey bees and of which use has increased in the last years. Honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica) were exposed chronically to thiacloprid in the field for several weeks at a sublethal concentration.

In the last two decades there have been an alarming number of amphibian extinctions

Amphibians, a unique group of vertebrates containing over 7,000 known species, are threatened worldwide. A 2004 global assessment found that nearly one-third (32%) of the world's amphibians are threatened, representing 1,856 species. Amphibians have existed on earth for over 300 million years, yet in just the last two decades there have been an alarming number of extinctions, nearly 168 species are believed to have gone extinct and at least 2,469 (43%) more have populations that are declining.

Thiamethoxam alters honey bee activity, motor functions, and movement to light

Honey bees provide key ecosystem services. To pollinate and to sustain the colony, workers must walk, climb, and use phototaxis as they move inside and outside the nest. Phototaxis, orientation to light, is linked to sucrose responsiveness and the transition of work from inside to outside the nest, and is also a key component of division of labour. However, the sublethal effects of pesticides on locomotion and movement to light are relatively poorly understood. Thiamethoxam (TMX) is a common neonicotinoid pesticide that bees can consume in nectar and pollen.

Imidacloprid and chlorpyrifos insecticides impair migratory ability in a seed-eating songbird

Birds that travel long distances between their wintering and breeding grounds may be particularly susceptible to neurotoxic insecticides, but the influence of insecticides on migration ability is poorly understood. Following acute exposure to two widely used agricultural insecticides, imidacloprid (neonicotinoid) and chlorpyrifos (organophosphate), we compared effects on body mass, migratory activity and orientation in a seed-eating bird, the white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys).