Widely Used Insecticides Are Leaching Into Midwest Rivers

Maanvi Singh, reporting for NPR:

Dean Bergmann

Dean Bergmann

A class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, which are used on a lot of big corn and soybean fields, has been getting a pretty bad rap lately.

Researchers have implicated these chemicals, which are similar to nicotine, as a contributor to the alarming decline of bee colonies. That led the European Union to place a moratorium on their use, and environmentalists want the U.S. to do the same.

In a study published July 24, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey found that these chemicals are also leaching into streams and rivers in the Midwest — including the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. And that may be bad news for aquatic life in the region, the scientists say.

In a dark place we find ourselves, and a potentially a widely used pesticide may be the cause.