By Heather Callaghan
A groundbreaking study is showing once and for all that despite safety claims, insecticides called neonicotinoids have a direct effect on the health and travels of songbirds.
Reportedly, this is the first study to show that imidacloprid (neonicotinoid) and chlorpyrifos (organophosphate) — which are two of the most widely-used insecticides — are toxic to seed-eating songbirds.
Said [Christy Morrissey, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan], “Studies on the risks of neonicotinoids have often focused on bees that have been experiencing population declines. However, it is not just bees that are being affected by these insecticides.”
Eng added, “These chemicals are having a strong impact on songbirds. We are seeing significant weight loss and the birds’ migratory orientation being significantly altered. Effects were seen from eating the equivalent of just three to four imidacloprid treated canola seeds or eight chlorpyrifos granules a day for three days.”
Seeds Are Pretreated With Neonics
Many people think they can easily wash pesticides off their foods. And that’s true for certain pesticides and with certain solutions. But it is not true for neonics!
Farmers used to spray them, but now they are typically treated on seeds and become a part of the plant, allowing the farmer to skip inconvenient sprayings. Some farmers will even claim that they can use “less chemicals” as a result, but this is not true for the birds, bees or humans consuming the plant.
Birds are eating some of these treated seeds.