Pet flea treatments poisoning rivers across England, scientists find

BobP

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From the recent Guardian article:

Revisiting dog flea treatments but still no action.
That's what you get if you read that rag. Fake news. Anyone with half a functioning brain cell should realise that there are infinitely bigger threats to the inverts in our rivers. You could make a start on phosphate contents of washing machine and dishwasher powders which do vast damage to the ecology.
 

ejw

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If you believe the hype, oestrogen, from water treatment plants that causes "breeding" problems in fish and invertibrate ?
Any reductions in "pollution" of any kind must be worth the effort. Even "Small" wins.
Some pollutions issues will be easier to implement than others.

Hopefully the "New" plans for Farming Subsidies may be a driving platform to look after the land and river, or maybe I am just being overly optimistic !!!!
 

kingf000

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That's what you get if you read that rag. Fake news. Anyone with half a functioning brain cell should realise that there are infinitely bigger threats to the inverts in our rivers. You could make a start on phosphate contents of washing machine and dishwasher powders which do vast damage to the ecology.
Having checked the original research - this is not fake news. These agents are very toxic to invertebrates - that is what they are used for - and have been found in many river samples at concentrations way above the level that would kill insect life. They are converted in the environmnet to even more toxic forms. They were banned from use on farms for this reason, but it seems as though the widespread use on household pets is now a major cause of concern. Phosphate has a ecological effects, but it is not a killer. It is a fertilizer that stimulates plant growth, along with nitrates.
If it is in the rivers, then it will get into the water supply and we will drink them. These neonicotinoids can damage brain development in the fetus and young children.

Have a read of this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5533829/
 
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BobP

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Phosphates are not a killer? OK, they're only responsible for killing off many of the invertebrates that fish feed on. The BWO is reportedly highly susceptible, but as its only a tiny little bug, who cares? Phosphates bind into the sediment on the river or lake bed and will remain there for years unless disturbed. If we banned phosphates now, this minute, our great grandchildren will still be having this discussion about them.

So, reading the above paragraph it says that neonicotinoids have contaminated British rivers. Elsewhere we have it stated that it has been banned for use in farming which means not so long ago it wasn't banned and was being used freely up and down the country on farmland, close to watercourses and on hillsides where rainfall can wash contaminated soil into rivers. Isn't there considerable concern being expressed in some quarters about the amount of top soil being eroded from farmland. This will end up in a river somewhere.

Be interesting to find out just how much of the active ingredient there actually is in one little phial of average flea treatment and see how many of those you can get out of one tub of the stuff that would be used on a farm.

As the stuff is banned for use in farms and it still present in varying quantities in various rivers it must be coming from somewhere. I know! Lightbulb moment! It is still used in flea treatments for dogs & cats and there are 10 million dogs so there is the answer. Real good science that!
 

kingf000

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Phosphates are not a killer? OK, they're only responsible for killing off many of the invertebrates that fish feed on. The BWO is reportedly highly susceptible, but as its only a tiny little bug, who cares? Phosphates bind into the sediment on the river or lake bed and will remain there for years unless disturbed. If we banned phosphates now, this minute, our great grandchildren will still be having this discussion about them.

So, reading the above paragraph it says that neonicotinoids have contaminated British rivers. Elsewhere we have it stated that it has been banned for use in farming which means not so long ago it wasn't banned and was being used freely up and down the country on farmland, close to watercourses and on hillsides where rainfall can wash contaminated soil into rivers. Isn't there considerable concern being expressed in some quarters about the amount of top soil being eroded from farmland. This will end up in a river somewhere.

Be interesting to find out just how much of the active ingredient there actually is in one little phial of average flea treatment and see how many of those you can get out of one tub of the stuff that would be used on a farm.

As the stuff is banned for use in farms and it still present in varying quantities in various rivers it must be coming from somewhere. I know! Lightbulb moment! It is still used in flea treatments for dogs & cats and there are 10 million dogs so there is the answer. Real good science that!
Did you read the articles or any of the work referred to in those articles? If you did you would see that the main use of the stuff was sprayed on plants in areas of high arable farming activity and 80% of it was taken up by plants to kill insects on the plants. There was little evidence of significant retention in soils. They were banned because they were much more toxic against bees and were blamed for the drop in bee numbers. The only other possible source of neonicotinoids is from the flea treatments in pets, as since 2018 that is the only allowed use for them. Whether you think it is good science or not, the fact remains that neonicotinoids at toxic levels are still being found in many rivers 2 years after they were banned for agricultural use and have been traced back to sewage outlets from domestic sources.
The Great Ouse is one of the worst rivers, and as Grafham gets its water from there, if Anglian water authority do not monitor it, then it could mean the end of invertebrates in Grafham. Already AWA has to monitor for paraformaldehyde in the Ouse, from agricultural run offs from slug killers.
Also the long term toxicity of these agents in humans has not been sufficiently studied. There is some evidence of neurological toxicity in humans on chronic exposure. Before 2018, we were exposed to them in our food, now many of us will be exposed to it in our drinking water, as the water purification would probably not remove the neonicotinoids. If nothing else, it needs further investigation otherwise river fly fishing could end up only being viable in areas of low human population, upstream of any sewage outlets.
Yes, BWO eggs are killed by 'fine sediment and phosphate pollution washed off from arable farms and also result from untreated sewage' so maybe the key is to stop the illegal dumping of raw sewage into rivers, which combined with low flows due to water abstraction forms a fine sludge on the river bed that kills the eggs.
It is pointless getting into a debate over which is worse, phosphate, raw sewage or neonicotinoids. They are all potentially bad and need to be controlled. There are alternatives to neonicotinoids for controlling fleas in pets, we should be using them.
 
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Cap'n Fishy

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Did you read the articles or any of the work referred to in those articles? If you did you would see that the main use of the stuff was sprayed on plants in areas of high arable farming activity and 80% of it was taken up by plants to kill insects on the plants. There was little evidence of significant retention in soils. They were banned because they were much more toxic against bees and were blamed for the drop in bee numbers. The only other possible source of neonicotinoids is from the flea treatments in pets, as since 2018 that is the only allowed use for them. Whether you think it is good science or not, the fact remains that neonicotinoids at toxic levels are still being found in many rivers 2 years after they were banned for agricultural use and have been traced back to sewage outlets from domestic sources.
The Great Ouse is one of the worst rivers, and as Grafham gets its water from there, if Anglian water authority do not monitor it, then it could mean the end of invertebrates in Grafham. Already AWA has to monitor for paraformaldehyde in the Ouse, from agricultural run offs from slug killers.
Also the long term toxicity of these agents in humans has not been sufficiently studied. There is some evidence of neurological toxicity in humans on chronic exposure. Before 2018, we were exposed to them in our food, now many of us will be exposed to it in our drinking water, as the water purification would probably not remove the neonicotinoids. If nothing else, it needs further investigation otherwise river fly fishing could end up only being viable in areas of low human population, upstream of any sewage outlets.
Yes, BWO eggs are killed by 'fine sediment and phosphate pollution washed off from arable farms and also result from untreated sewage' so maybe the key is to stop the illegal dumping of raw sewage into rivers, which combined with low flows due to water abstraction forms a fine sludge on the river bed that kills the eggs.
It is pointless getting into a debate over which is worse, phosphate, raw sewage or neonicotinoids. They are all potentially bad and need to be controlled. There are alternatives to neonicotinoids for controlling fleas in pets, we should be using them.

Beware of the 'dog people'. They have the 'dog virus'. Their dogs have infected them and now control their brains to make them carry-out their every wish... the way that fungus controls the ants it infects and makes them climb up a tree so it can disperse its spores from a high vantage point.

Pointless to try and make any argument with dog people that involves any kind of concession on their part against their gods/dogs (spot the anagram... 😜). The dog will be controlling their fingers on the keyboard... making them type "It... is.... nothing... to... do... with... flea... treatments... for... dogs..."

Col
 
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matt808

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I'm sure if you pour tubfuls of flea shampoo in to a river it isn't going to help it.
We use spot on flea treatments like most dog owners which is a tiny dab per dog.
You have to let it dry and shouldn't let your dog get wet for 24 hours, dog owners just like non dog owners don't like throwing money away.

I guess there may be a small percentage of people who let their dog jump in the river within those 24 hours, an even smaller percentage where the treatment hasn't dried in a couple of hours anyway.
The amount of stuff actually washed off and in to the river must be pretty much nothing.
How many fisherman spray their waders and clothes with tick spray and go in the water with them?

With all the pesticides, car washes and myriad farming and waste run-off polluting rivers, dog flea treatment makes a very poor scapegoat.
Lazy environmentalism.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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The amount of stuff actually washed off and in to the river must be pretty much nothing.

That is the problem. The amount of those insecticides it takes to enter a river and kill insects is 'pretty much nothing'.

A concentration of 0.03 micrograms/L kills insects. The River Tame was producing readings for neonicotinoids of more than 0.4 micrograms/L. Where is it coming from when it is banned from agricultural use???

Col
 

Cap'n Fishy

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These treatments, have they been tested on animals? Where are these activists who campaign against testing on animals when you need them?

Never mind being tested on animals. They are being used on animals! 😗
 

ohanzee

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I'm thinking twice about patting random dogs?

Its maybe 40 years since we used nicotine fumes in greenhouses, it came as a small cone that you lit and ran, this filled the greenhouse with toxic smoke, usually overnight, and by morning everything was dead and just a faint toxic smell, sometimes you would find dead mice in the morning, and occasionally humans died too, no one really bothered with eating tomatoes from those greenhouses though.

Point is, when they banned it people said they were making a fuss over nothing, we would probably call them stupid now, then say 'ah chemicals on dogs? what harm can they do.'
 

aenoon

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An intersesting view would be where does the excess testing samples get disposed? After all, animals are just test subjects, right?
Naw, as I stated many pages ago, the basic chemical used in the majority of spot on treatments in dogs, Fipronil, is still used extensively in agriculture.
It is used as a seed dressing on almost every crop that is harvested before flowering.
Now that bit is important, it is banned in use for any crop that is harvested after flowering.
That was to protect the bees and other nectar sucking insects.
Crops that are harvested before flowering?
Probably some hundreds of millions of tonnes, and therefore thousands and thousands of acres.
Am not going to even try to list them all, but suffice to say, its just about every vegetable and green leaf salad stuff out there!

Bert
 

taffy1

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Naw, as I stated many pages ago, the basic chemical used in the majority of spot on treatments in dogs, Fipronil, is still used extensively in agriculture.
It is used as a seed dressing on almost every crop that is harvested before flowering.
Now that bit is important, it is banned in use for any crop that is harvested after flowering.
That was to protect the bees and other nectar sucking insects.
Crops that are harvested before flowering?
Probably some hundreds of millions of tonnes, and therefore thousands and thousands of acres.
Am not going to even try to list them all, but suffice to say, its just about every vegetable and green leaf salad stuff out there!

Bert
Still on the first page in this thread.
 

aenoon

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Still on the first page in this thread.
OK, as stated many pages ago in another thread on same subject!
Here is the link to info.


And here is the relevant paragraph from same report. 3rd one down.


"In the UK there are currently no approvals for fipronil, however fipronil treated seed is imported into the UK. Most of this imported seed is treated with the product Mundial, which is approved in other EU member states for use on leeks, shallots, onions and a range of brassicas. There will be no restrictions on use of fipronil on glasshouse crops or on field vegetables that are harvested before flowering, which the NFU understands will mean the main uses of fipronil (as the product Mundial) in the UK will be exempt from restriction."

I.E. NFU sanction its use country wide.

Bert
 
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