www.washingtonpost.com

‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss

In this deeply worrisome article about the disappearance of insects and insect-eaters from Puerto Rican forests, the reporter writes that the scientists attribute the decline to climate change and not to pesticides.


He quotes one of the scientists, Bradford Lister, as dismissing the potential contribution of pesticides because "pesticide use has fallen more than 80 percent in Puerto Rico" during the period of insect decline.

This is not scientific evidence against the potential role of pesticides.

While the volume of application may have declined by that much over 40 years, the mix of pesticides is quite different now. For example, neonicotinoid insecticides—extremely powerful against insects—didn't become widely used until the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Now they are ubiquitous. The U.S. Geological Survey has detected them in many agricultural streams across the U.S., including in Puerto Rico.

Also, industrial chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol A are found ubiquitously in environmental samples. French researchers have found phthalates in the cuticle of ants in South American jungles at levels high enough to interfere with reproduction and immune system function.

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
From our Newsroom

These environmental reporters told you so

Florida's Piney Point is the latest predicted disaster. Maybe we should start listening to these folks?

Racism, inequities move to the center of the climate debate

COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter protests threw underlying systemic inequity magnifying climate change impacts into sharp relief.

More than 2 million Americans exposed to high levels of strontium in drinking water

The unregulated metal can harm bone development in children.

LISTEN: Veena Singla on turning science into policy

"I love science … but many of the aspects that were my strengths in science don't necessarily fit with an academic research career."

Fractured: The body burden of living near fracking

EHN.org scientific investigation finds western Pennsylvania families near fracking are exposed to harmful chemicals, and regulations fail to protect communities' mental, physical, and social health.

Fractured: Buffered from fracking but still battling pollution

A statewide network of fracking and conventional wells, pipelines, and petrochemical plants closes in on communities.

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.