Neonicotinoids are a chemical neurotoxin that resemble nicotine in order to effectively combat pests that wreak havoc on the crops of farmers.
Despite their good intention, Neonicotinoids can have harmful effects on a variety of factors. It is for this reason that I am writing this letter of petition to place Neonicotinoids on the National Banned Chemical List because I strongly feel the negative effects generated with the use of Neonicotinoids outweigh the benefits.First and Foremost, Neonicotinoids have a very adverse negative impact on the overall health of the public because many times, when they are applied to crops, they act as a systemic pesticide which means that they are absorbed by all parts of the plant. In fact, during a study conducted in 2016, The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry quantitatively measured neonicotinoids in various foods that are common to human consumption and found that all fruit and vegetable samples tested positive for at least one neonicotinoid.
Furthermore, 72% of fruits, 45% of vegetables, and 50% of honey samples tested contained at least two different neonicotinoids. Additionally, when Neonicotinoids are consumed by humans they can interfere with development of the brain and nerve functions throughout the body because the pesticides are designed to solely target the nervous system of an insect by binding to the its nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) taking the place of acetylcholine, a common neural nutrient. However, unlike acetylcholine, which is rapidly degraded through a chemical reaction, the connected neonics are degraded very slowly, essentially poisoning the affected nerve cell and ultimately killing the targeted insect within hours or days. In sharp contrast, the acetylcholine receptor in humans has far more functions than that of an insect, such as aiding with proper brain formation and cognitive growth, so if consumed, there can be potentially fatal results. I believe that by eliminating the use of Neonicotinoids there can be a decrease in the total amount of neonics consumed allowing the public to be healthier.
Furthermore, the use of Neonicotinoids can devastate the environment and ecosystems due to their extensive use throughout the agricultural industry. As a result of their extensive use, this chemical is found in a majority of ecosystem components including soil, water and air. With high environmental contamination, the populations of non-target animals such as bees have been devastated. In fact, in a recent published issue of the Time magazine it was reported that “Population levels of more than 700 North American bee species are declining as habitat loss and pesticide use continue at a breakneck pace,”. The reason why bees have been hit particularly hard is because, when Neonicotinoids are absorbed by crops, its synthetic nature allows it to be incorporated in almost all parts of the plant including the pollen. Many times oblivious bees are killed off rapidly when they pollinate since Neonicotinoids have a been known adversely affect individual navigation, learning, and food collection of bees ultimately leading to Colony Collapse Disorder. This rapid population decline can be very fatal for environments because it was stated in a Time article that “There are about 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of food globally. Of these, 71 are pollinated by bees.
“, and without steady bee populations pollination deficiencies can lead to food shortages and malnutrition. Additionally, Neonicotinoids have been known to contaminate environmental water sources.This contamination is a result of chemical runoff and once it occurs it can affect all living beings that come into contact with it. Due to its synthetic properties, Neonicotinoids not only can be incorporated in various parts of plants but they can also bind with water molecules.
Once they bind with the molecules of water sources many water reliant organisms unintentionally get affected.Moving on, Neonicotinoids also have a very strong niche in today’s society but I feel that it’s time to change that. One of the main reasons Neonicotinoids are used is because they have increased the productivity of crops cost-effectively. These products provide clear performance and environmental advantages over the older chemistries they replaced. It is for this reason the crop protection industry strongly endorses ongoing neonic research however it also completely disregards the health and environmental side-effects that result with the use of Neonicotinoids. It is for this reason I am writing this letter of petition because I believe that society has been so engrossed with the production benefits from using chemicals, such as Neonicotinoids, that many people haven’t really taken the time to truly compare the benefits versus the negatives. Furthermore, the culture of society has also shifted alongside the increase in the use of chemicals because the attitudes of people shifted from having concerns about potential profits and efficiency to concerns about the wellbeing of the environment.Lastly, though Neonicotinoids were created to increase economic effectiveness in the agriculture sector, in today’s world the opposite has been achieved economically.
Early on with the use of Neonicotinoids many farmers begun to see increased crop yields allowing them to prosper economically. However, after repeated use Colony Collapse Disorder started to become evident throughout the country costing the agriculture sector a lot of money. In fact, Bee Pollination is worth about 15 billion dollars as reported by news site The Balance and it skyrocketed after the prevalence of Neonicotinoids. Furthermore, I believe that by placing Neonicotinoids on the banned list the economy can actually prosper because more research can be conducted on healthy alternatives rather than unhealthy chemical products. Furthermore, with better alternatives the environment could be saved and crop yields could also be increased due to increased productivity and efficiency.In conclusion, I am writing this letter of petition because by discussing all these problems associated with the use of Neonicotinoids I hope that it can shed light onto the positives that could result from placing Neonicotinoids on the banned National Banned Chemical List.