A study published May 4 by the academic journal Frontiers in Environmental Science finds pesticides widely used in American agriculture pose a grave threat to organisms that are critical to healthy soil, biodiversity and soil carbon sequestration to fight climate change. “It’s extremely concerning that 71% of cases show pesticides significantly harm soil invertebrates,” said Dr. Tara Cornelisse, an entomologist at Center for Biological Diversity and co-author of the study. “Our results add to the evidence that pesticides are contributing to widespread declines of insects, like beneficial predaceous beetles and pollinating solitary bees. These troubling findings add to the urgency of reining in pesticide use.” The findings come on the heels of a recent study published in the journal Science showing pesticide toxicity has more than doubled for many invertebrates since 2005. Despite reduced overall use of insecticides, the chemicals most commonly used today, including neonicotinoids, are increasingly toxic to beneficial insects and other invertebrates. Pesticides can linger in the soil for years or decades after they are applied, continuing to harm soil health.
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