In 2017, researchers discovered neonicotinoids in treated tap water.1 Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticide in conventional agriculture, and they’ve made headlines in recent years as they’ve been linked to rapidly declining bee populations.
Considering run-off and water pollution, common side effects of industrial agriculture, it isn’t surprising that these chemicals have made their way into public drinking water. What’s worse is that water treatment processes that are supposed to keep the public safe may make this insecticide more harmful to human health.
New research shows that during normal water treatment processes like chlorination, certain neonicotinoids form metabolites that can be up to 300x more toxic to humans and other mammals than before treatment.2 While neonicotinoids are supposed to be toxic only to invertebrates, the chlorination process changes their toxicity profile and opens the door for unknown effects on human health.
In 2017, we started a 5-year trial investigating the impacts of farming practices on clean water. Learn more at the Watershed Impact Trial.