Pet flea treatments poisoning rivers across England, scientists find

matt808

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Yep - what we spray on our plants is also a factor and we need to be careful it is not insecticides that can find their way into watercourses in active forms.

The problem with this thread is that it is just going over all the same stuff that has been discussed at length already.

The problem with neonicotinoids is their potency. Even if they are "just a tiny corner of the tip of the iceberg" as you put it, that is still more than enough to kill aquatic invertebrates, and these kinds of concentrations are being detected in rivers. So, we are being told that we need to stop using them everywhere they are currently being used.
The main factor, according to your study.
No data for pet treatments, but they guess it's a cause, behind plant spray.
No data - forgive me if I don't put too much stock in to that particular paper.
 

kingf000

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I thought it was, and that it was way more toxic than imidacloprid to insects? And also that bravecto treatment lingers in the bloodstream.

We use it because it's effective and our dogs are healthy and don't show any side effects.
Neonics act on nicotinic acetyl choline receptors, fipronil and fluralaner act on GABA receptors. Different mechanisms but still highly toxic to insects, and some fish. I couldn't find much about the degradation of bravecto, only general statements that it has a low ecological threat, degraded in anaerobic aquatic sediments, but not aerobic and is persistant in the soil. So it is important to keep it away from rivers, don't discard it into sewers and not to let the dogs s**t in the river or lake. Because these things are so toxic, it is a worry but at least with systemic bravecto you can control the exposure.
 

matt808

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Neonics act on nicotinic acetyl choline receptors, fipronil and fluralaner act on GABA receptors. Different mechanisms but still highly toxic to insects, and some fish. I couldn't find much about the degradation of bravecto, only general statements that it has a low ecological threat, degraded in anaerobic aquatic sediments, but not aerobic and is persistant in the soil. So it is important to keep it away from rivers, don't discard it into sewers and not to let the dogs s**t in the river or lake. Because these things are so toxic, it is a worry but at least with systemic bravecto you can control the exposure.
So, going by that, if people use something like bravecto, pick up their dog ****, (even if you don't like dog people, you must admit that MOST of them pick it up), it sounds like they can sleep at night when it comes to the ecological effects of their flea treatment. Cool.
 

matt808

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And I don't know anyone that doesn't use Frontline or bravecto for their dog flea treatment.
 

matt808

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No data - forgive me if I don't put too much stock in to that particular comment.
Supposedly 80% of dog owners flea their dogs regularly.
Frontline and bravecto are apparently not harmful if due care is taken during treatment (not my words).

Frontline and Bravecto are two of the most common flea treatments.

There's your data, or are they not two of the most popular flea treatments?

Time to chime in with something a bit more productive if you can manage it.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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The main factor, according to your study.
No data for pet treatments, but they guess it's a cause, behind plant spray.
No data - forgive me if I don't put too much stock in to that particular paper.

I dunno what paper you are quoting from. Here is a quote from the Buglife one...

"Roessink et al. (2013) examined acute and chronic toxicity of Imidacloprid to a wide range of aquatic insects and other crustaceans and found that mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and caddisflies (Trichoptera) were the most sensitive species in both acute and chronic tests, with LC50 and EC50 values in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 μg/L. At an environmental concentration of just 0.03 μg/L 10% of mayflies died."





So, a concentration of 0.03 μg Imidacloprid/L kills insects and the River Tame has an annual neonicotinoid conc of over 0.4 μg/L - nearly 15 times higher! That is not describing the corner of the tip of an iceberg.

"It is apparent from the data that the use of Imidacloprid as a veterinary medicine is a cause of serious concern. Pollution from flea treatments is the most likely source of chronic and harmful pollution on several urban rivers, and the insecticide was detected in one of the UK’s most pristine environments. The threat posed to aquatic life by high levels of Imidicloprid are clearly established, and immediate action to bring rivers back into a good chemical status is essential.

There is a bewildering array of toxins available to treat ectoparasites on pets in the UK, in addition to Imidacloprid another neonicotinoid Nitenpyram is used, as is the similar toxin Fipronil. Pyriproxyfen, Methoprene, Indoxacarb, Diazanon, Permethrin, Flumethrin, Fluralaner, Propoxur, Dicyclanil, Spinosad, Deltamethrin, Lotilaner, Afoxolaner, Sarolaner, Cyromazine and Cypermethrin are also used, only the latter is currently included under Water Framework Directive monitoring requirements. Some of these toxins are endocrine disrupters and may be further regulated by the EU. Having discovered that Imidacloprid pet treatments appear to be the cause of harmful pollution of waterbodies, it would be short sighted not to consider that other ectoparasite treatments may pose similar risks. The apparent pollution event on the River Tame indicates that monitoring of neonicotinoids has the potential to detect damaging insecticide pollution incidents in rivers; events that can be difficult to observe directly."

"The ecologically damaging levels of neonicotinoids detected in British freshwaters is a further example, were one needed, that current regulatory procedures are failing to provide sufficient protection to ecosystems. This problem has been recognised by Prof. Ian Boyd, the Defra Chief Scientist: “The current assumption underlying pesticide regulation — that chemicals that pass a battery of tests in the laboratory or in field trials are environmentally benign when they are used at industrial scales — is false.” “The United Kingdom has one of the most developed regulatory and monitoring systems for pesticides. Yet, it has no systematic monitoring of pesticide residues in the environment.” “Better regulation is needed to control how pesticides are used and affect the environment at a landscape scale.” (Milner and Boyd 2017).

The regulatory agencies should take the opportunities currently presented to address the shortcomings in insecticide regulation, as a model for a better future approach to pesticide regulation that would establish stronger regulatory tests prior to the initial approval of pesticide uses, and default post-approval monitoring of both environmental presence and impacts. It should not come as a surprise from the blue every time we realise that an insecticide is causing environmental harm, it can be predicted and managed. Finally, the process of insecticide approval, monitoring, risk management and review must be made vastly more independent, transparent and open."

"Recommendations

  1. Monitoring of these five neonicotinoids should be continued, regardless of their future Watch List status, and the number of sites and sample dates expanded. In particular more rivers should be included that are a) at risk of, or in probability are already, being impacted by arable insecticides and veterinary medicines, and b) representative of areas with greenhouses, extensive orchards, soft fruit production and commercial forestry.
  2. A comprehensive EU wide ban on the agricultural use of Imidacloprid, Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam should be introduced due to the unacceptable harm they are causing to the aquatic environment; this ban should include greenhouse uses. There is no obvious alternative way to reduce or mitigate their impact on aquatic life.
  3. Urgent action is required to reduce Imidacloprid pollution in water bodies and return them to a good chemical condition:
a) The use of Imidacloprid as an externally applied veterinary medicine should be suspended in the UK - this is the measure most likely to rapidly reduce chronic pollution levels.
b) A thorough review of the use of ectoparasite treatments, including a full risk assessment in relation to the aquatic environment, must be urgently undertaken. The report should make recommendations that address all risks of environmental harm. Currently ectoparasite medicines do not even come with a warning to pet owners indicating that they should keep treated animals out of streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.
c) If it becomes apparent that chronic pollution of aquatic habitats by ectoparasite treatments is originating via storm drains and/or waste‑water treatment works outflows then mitigation measures may not be feasible and permanent bans may be required.

4 The Environment Agency should develop a clear regulatory approach to responding to neonicotinoid pollution This should include:

a) Adopting and applying formal EQS standards based on a rational assessment of risk, considering the wealth of evidence relating to Imidacloprid and the likely comparable toxicity of the other neonicotinoids.
b) A clearly communicated approach to investigating and resolving neonicotinoid pollution events identified by monitoring.

5 The apparent pollution incident on the River Tame should be investigated and potential sources examined. Monitoring on this river should be stepped up to become at least fortnightly so that any future incidents can be detected.
6 Defra should establish an initiative to transform insecticide environmental risk management so as to ensure future generations have a better protected environment, in line with the Defra Chief Scientist’s recent call for improved “pesticidovigilance”. This should include:
a) Formal engagement between the Environment Agency, SEPA, NRW, Chemicals Regulation Directorate and Veterinary Medicines Directorate on a joint project.
b) The development of a new, independent, transparent and open approach that uses a more ecologically comprehensive evidence base in approving insecticide uses, monitoring environmental prevalence, researching environmental impacts, and reviewing post-approval use."
As I said - you either sit up and take notice, maybe look a bit further into it... Or you dismiss it and ignore it. Your choice. If car shampoo was the big issue, would the bug-lovers be getting their knickers in such a twist about insecticides?

The big clue is in the word 'insecticide', I reckon. Just sayin'...
 

matt808

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I dunno what paper you are quoting from. Here is a quote from the Buglife one...

"Roessink et al. (2013) examined acute and chronic toxicity of Imidacloprid to a wide range of aquatic insects and other crustaceans and found that mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and caddisflies (Trichoptera) were the most sensitive species in both acute and chronic tests, with LC50 and EC50 values in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 μg/L. At an environmental concentration of just 0.03 μg/L 10% of mayflies died."





So, a concentration of 0.03 μg Imidacloprid/L kills insects and the River Tame has an annual neonicotinoid conc of over 0.4 μg/L - nearly 15 times higher! That is not describing the corner of the tip of an iceberg.

"It is apparent from the data that the use of Imidacloprid as a veterinary medicine is a cause of serious concern. Pollution from flea treatments is the most likely source of chronic and harmful pollution on several urban rivers, and the insecticide was detected in one of the UK’s most pristine environments. The threat posed to aquatic life by high levels of Imidicloprid are clearly established, and immediate action to bring rivers back into a good chemical status is essential.

There is a bewildering array of toxins available to treat ectoparasites on pets in the UK, in addition to Imidacloprid another neonicotinoid Nitenpyram is used, as is the similar toxin Fipronil. Pyriproxyfen, Methoprene, Indoxacarb, Diazanon, Permethrin, Flumethrin, Fluralaner, Propoxur, Dicyclanil, Spinosad, Deltamethrin, Lotilaner, Afoxolaner, Sarolaner, Cyromazine and Cypermethrin are also used, only the latter is currently included under Water Framework Directive monitoring requirements. Some of these toxins are endocrine disrupters and may be further regulated by the EU. Having discovered that Imidacloprid pet treatments appear to be the cause of harmful pollution of waterbodies, it would be short sighted not to consider that other ectoparasite treatments may pose similar risks. The apparent pollution event on the River Tame indicates that monitoring of neonicotinoids has the potential to detect damaging insecticide pollution incidents in rivers; events that can be difficult to observe directly."

"The ecologically damaging levels of neonicotinoids detected in British freshwaters is a further example, were one needed, that current regulatory procedures are failing to provide sufficient protection to ecosystems. This problem has been recognised by Prof. Ian Boyd, the Defra Chief Scientist: “The current assumption underlying pesticide regulation — that chemicals that pass a battery of tests in the laboratory or in field trials are environmentally benign when they are used at industrial scales — is false.” “The United Kingdom has one of the most developed regulatory and monitoring systems for pesticides. Yet, it has no systematic monitoring of pesticide residues in the environment.” “Better regulation is needed to control how pesticides are used and affect the environment at a landscape scale.” (Milner and Boyd 2017).

The regulatory agencies should take the opportunities currently presented to address the shortcomings in insecticide regulation, as a model for a better future approach to pesticide regulation that would establish stronger regulatory tests prior to the initial approval of pesticide uses, and default post-approval monitoring of both environmental presence and impacts. It should not come as a surprise from the blue every time we realise that an insecticide is causing environmental harm, it can be predicted and managed. Finally, the process of insecticide approval, monitoring, risk management and review must be made vastly more independent, transparent and open."

"Recommendations

  1. Monitoring of these five neonicotinoids should be continued, regardless of their future Watch List status, and the number of sites and sample dates expanded. In particular more rivers should be included that are a) at risk of, or in probability are already, being impacted by arable insecticides and veterinary medicines, and b) representative of areas with greenhouses, extensive orchards, soft fruit production and commercial forestry.
  2. A comprehensive EU wide ban on the agricultural use of Imidacloprid, Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam should be introduced due to the unacceptable harm they are causing to the aquatic environment; this ban should include greenhouse uses. There is no obvious alternative way to reduce or mitigate their impact on aquatic life.
  3. Urgent action is required to reduce Imidacloprid pollution in water bodies and return them to a good chemical condition:
a) The use of Imidacloprid as an externally applied veterinary medicine should be suspended in the UK - this is the measure most likely to rapidly reduce chronic pollution levels.
b) A thorough review of the use of ectoparasite treatments, including a full risk assessment in relation to the aquatic environment, must be urgently undertaken. The report should make recommendations that address all risks of environmental harm. Currently ectoparasite medicines do not even come with a warning to pet owners indicating that they should keep treated animals out of streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.
c) If it becomes apparent that chronic pollution of aquatic habitats by ectoparasite treatments is originating via storm drains and/or waste‑water treatment works outflows then mitigation measures may not be feasible and permanent bans may be required.

4 The Environment Agency should develop a clear regulatory approach to responding to neonicotinoid pollution This should include:

a) Adopting and applying formal EQS standards based on a rational assessment of risk, considering the wealth of evidence relating to Imidacloprid and the likely comparable toxicity of the other neonicotinoids.
b) A clearly communicated approach to investigating and resolving neonicotinoid pollution events identified by monitoring.

5 The apparent pollution incident on the River Tame should be investigated and potential sources examined. Monitoring on this river should be stepped up to become at least fortnightly so that any future incidents can be detected.
6 Defra should establish an initiative to transform insecticide environmental risk management so as to ensure future generations have a better protected environment, in line with the Defra Chief Scientist’s recent call for improved “pesticidovigilance”. This should include:
a) Formal engagement between the Environment Agency, SEPA, NRW, Chemicals Regulation Directorate and Veterinary Medicines Directorate on a joint project.
b) The development of a new, independent, transparent and open approach that uses a more ecologically comprehensive evidence base in approving insecticide uses, monitoring environmental prevalence, researching environmental impacts, and reviewing post-approval use."
As I said - you either sit up and take notice, maybe look a bit further into it... Or you dismiss it and ignore it. Your choice. If car shampoo was the big issue, would the bug-lovers be getting their knickers in such a twist about insecticides?

The big clue is in the word 'insecticide', I reckon. Just sayin'...
I'm quoting from the paper you told me to read.
'the most likely source on urban rivers' -hmm, where there is no arable crop planting, but almost limitless potential sources?
They don't know, captain, 'no data'!! They are just suggesting what 'might' be a source.
So there could be just as much coming from flea treatment as there is from plant spray (even though they explicitly say elsewhere in the paper that plants and garden centre's are more likely as a source, and give figures) or their could be next to none.
Again, 'there is no data', you are trying to convince me based on this paper where the authors note more than once that they have no data...
 

matt808

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... pick it up reluctantly, and then look for a tree to hang the bag in... :rolleyes:
Hmm let's wonder what your agenda might be here...
Some dog owners are irresponsible people, is that your earth shattering news?
 

Cap'n Fishy

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'the most likely source on urban rivers' -hmm, where there is no arable crop planting, but almost limitless potential sources?

What are all these other sources of neonicotinoids getting into waterways?

So there could be just as much coming from flea treatment as there is from plant spray

Plant sprays are recognised as a source, and that is the whole point of it. Identify the sources and then try to remove them all, surely? If the sources include both plant sprays and flea treatments, you can't defend flea treatments by saying, "Oh well, plant sprays are just as much to blame." Surely?
 

bobmiddlepoint

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What are all these other sources of neonicotinoids getting into waterways?



Plant sprays are recognised as a source, and that is the whole point of it. Identify the sources and then try to remove them all, surely? If the sources include both plant sprays and flea treatments, you can't defend flea treatments by saying, "Oh well, plant sprays are just as much to blame." Surely?

I think we all know that many people defend many things by sticking their fingers in their ears and going "la la la I'm not to blame."

I'm a dog owner (possibly even a dog person!) but I'm also a fisherman who cares about the aquatic environment. I'll be looking for alternative flea treatments (if and when I next need them).

Ah well...
 

matt808

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What are all these other sources of neonicotinoids getting into waterways?



Plant sprays are recognised as a source, and that is the whole point of it. Identify the sources and then try to remove them all, surely? If the sources include both plant sprays and flea treatments, you can't defend flea treatments by saying, "Oh well, plant sprays are just as much to blame." Surely?
The paper which you are touting even suggests flea treatments are a secondary source, but it's just a guess either way. It gives incorrect statements on how flea treatments are applied and admits there is no data on the prevalence of flea treatments containing imidacloprid, so it Isn't even an educated guess.

It seems as though some of (lots of) flea treatments are in fact not the source of neonicotinoids in the environment so this 10 million dogs/80% flea treatments as a source is invalid. Since many flea treatments aren't given externally that is obvious anyway.

I don't know the source of all the neonicotinoids in the environment, pet flea treatment surely contributes some, less than you or I thought it did, and less than you think your paper suggests.

I've learned something from the thread, and consequently will read further, so thanks for talking about it and having some concern for the environment.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Yes pointless behaviour, granted. Not all dog people are the same as I'm sure you know.

My publication on 'Dog People' doesn't even mention the sh1t in the trees, because it is not restricted to Dog People. Ordinary dog owners hang their dog shi1t in trees as well.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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The paper which you are touting even suggests flea treatments are a secondary source...

Aye, fine. Do you not get the bit where it is not a competition to decide who is the biggest culprit? It is a case of identifying all the sources and trying to stop all of them.
 

kingf000

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Aye, fine. Do you not get the bit where it is not a competition to decide who is the biggest culprit? It is a case of identifying all the sources and trying to stop all of them.
Surely all it takes to calm this debate down is for dog owners to use only Frontline or Bravecto responsibly, neither of which contains any neonicotinoids and therefore do not contribute to the levels of these insecticides in the environment. They are still very toxic to insects, after all that is what they do, but used as they ought to be, they shouldn't cause any ecological problems, especially using Bravecto systemically.
I personally am not anti-dog and I love taking my daughter's greyhound for a walk when I get the chance. The problems are with the humans, not the dogs. Dogs just do what dogs do.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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I'm glad I've plenty of DDT :sleep:

I keep my DDT in beside my Cymag and Strychnine supplies. 🤪

True story...

Back when I was working, I had occasion to be contracted to do some regulatory tests on cyanogen. It's essentially cyanide gas! Gee, thanks for that! The client arranged to get sent a gas bottle containing 500 mL of liquified cyanogen from a manufacturer in China. It arrived in a bolted steel container that would have survived a nuclear explosion! The stuff was so toxic to our cells and bacteria that we were testing it on, that after completion of the studies there was still about 499 mL left in the gas bottle!

How to get rid of it??? :unsure: I contacted various waste disposal companies, who were all a bit reluctant to touch it. One did suggest taking it outside to a wide open area and simply opening the tap! (Presumably with the additional instructions of: "Run away quick!" o_O)

The gas bottle sat at the back of our fume cupboard for about 6 months while we tried to find a way to dispose of it. Eventually, a local company found a way to deal with it safely and they collected it from us.

I retired from the world of cyanide testing after all that... with a few more grey hairs than I started out!

Col
 
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