The safety of our drinking water has become an issue of increasing alarm ever since the municipal water supply of Flint, Michigan turned up dangerous levels of hazardous chemicals in 2014. But now we have to worry about another pollutant in our waters: toxic insecticides. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Iowa have discovered trace amounts of neonicotinoids in Iowa tap water, even after treatment.
Neonicotinoids are relatively new to the insecticide world, but they have already been accused of poisoning bee populations around the country. Although research is currently inconclusive regarding the exact effects of neonicotinoid consumption in humans, scientists are worried. Three out of four studies published by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in a February report drew a connection between repeated exposure to neonicotinoid chemicals and accidental poisoning.
The trace chemicals found in the Iowa tap water samples measured between 0.24 and 57.3 nanograms of individual neonicotinoids per liter of water, according to United Press International, and Iowa’s filtration devices only removed about one percent of the chemicals.
“At this point in time, these results don’t indicate any violation of the system, we are trying to bring these contaminants to light more than saying this is or isn’t a safe level,” study co-author Gregory LeFevre told the BBC.