On The Radio – Neonicotinoids found in University of Iowa drinking water


activate charcoal
Activated carbon filters were shown to effectively remove neonic insecticides from drinking water. (Minnesota Department of Health)
Jake Slobe | May 8, 2017

This On The Radio segment discusses the recent study that found neonicotinoids in UI drinking water.

Transcript: A recent study by University of Iowa Researchers and the U.S. Geological Survey found neonicotinoids, a specific class of pesticides, in tap water for the first time ever.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Researchers compared tap water samples from the University of Iowa drinking water supply to samples of Iowa City municipal tap water. Water samples from both sources were tested for three primary types of neonicotinoids. The study found that the University of Iowa filtration system removed almost none of the neonicotinoids, while the City of Iowa City’s treatment plant successfully removed between 85 and 100 percent of each pesticide.

Dr. Gregory LeFevre is a University of Iowa environmental engineer and one of the study’s authors.

“Due to the proliferation of neonicotinoids in the environment and their chemical properties, we are not terribly surprise to find that they were present in drinking water. Most water treatment plants are designed to remove particles and pathogens like ecoli, but not trace pesticides. We were, however, more surprised by and encouraged to see how effective granular active carbon appeared to be at removing neonics from water.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not set a limit for neonicotinoid levels in drinking water. Neonics became widely used by farmers in the early 1990s. The pesticides are still very popular, despite mounting research that suggests they are lethal to bees and other helpful insect species. The study’s authors argue that more research is called for to assess neonicotinoid exposure on a larger scale.

For more information about the study or to read it in its entirety, visit Iowa-environmental-focus-dot-org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

 

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