Pet flea treatments poisoning rivers across England, scientists find

ohanzee

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Maybe Bert could put vinegar on his dog?

I suggested a different natural solution for that, it takes a bit of work to use alternative natural chemicals, and they are not always as instantly effective, they also permeate pretty much every aspect of modern convenient life and pretty much all go down a sink and into our waterways.

I'd ban the flea stuff as a first step to banning every toxic chemical we can.
 

JayP

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Meanwhile in near post Brexit Britain the NFU are petitioning George Eustace hard to allow the reintroduction of neonicotinoid for sugar beet farmers... Think some on here might be barking up the wrong tree....
 

matt808

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Anyone got any idea how many miles of designated main river there are in England? Look it up on the EA website and then wonder how come there is any space for humans. Then factor in how many miles of ordinary water course there is. For those who don't know the difference, main river is that length of river for which the EA has a maintenance obligation. Ordinary watercourses are everything else where landowners are responsible.

When you've done that and added up how many tens of thousands of miles there are think about the allegation that dogs are responsible for poisoning it all.

For those of you who obviously dislike dogs you'll be delighted to hear that there is one less to poison a river because I had to have my 9 year old English Springer Spaniel put to sleep yesterday evening as he had a tumour in his bladder.
Agreed Bob. Sorry about your dog, always **** to put a dog down. Our cocker is 9, runs more than our 2 year old dog. hoping a lot more years to go
 

matt808

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Notice how no one has posted on either of the 2 threads to talk about how their cats are special, and if they need treated with such and such, nothing else matters? And I reckon ‘Cat People’ are just as mad as Dog People. It simply appears that there are no Cat People on the forum to give us the same strawman argument. Maybe just that fly fishing and dogs are much more a natural partnership than fly fishing and cats. Cat People… bit more, well, colourful. 😜

I have not one photo of a cat being taken fly fishing...








Not that any of them were in swimming with flea powder on them, of course! 😗
Well cats don't like water and rarely swim In it, cats don't exactly tolerate being shampooed in general either.
 

matt808

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Well, that is not necessarily true. As already mentioned, providing you control phosphate levels, then increased levels of nitrates do not make a lot of difference. They are not toxic to life-forms. Adding foreign limestone to acidic rivers to raise pH levels is done to improve invertebrate numbers. The competitors in a plastic duck race shouldn't be there, but they are not harmful to life-forms. 🤪 On the other hand, insecticides have only one purpose - to kill insects.



Flea treatment is 'only a very small contributor' to what? Killing aquatic insects? What are all the other more significant contributors to killing aquatic insects, aside from plant sprays and seed dressings? How do you know what proportions of the total load each of these 3 account for?

But anyhoo, that is not the point. It's a question of asking everyone who uses insecticides to have a look at what they are doing and to ensure there is no possibility of any insecticides ending up in watercourses in an active form as a result of us using them, whether it is as flea treatments or plant sprays or midge repellents, or anything else, surely?
You don't know what proportion it accounts for either.
Nobody does, as mentioned in your study.
You aren't familiar with household pet habits either, apparently, I don't know where you're getting the data from which has made your opinion so strong?

So things which shouldn't be in rivers, but which aren't insecticides, are basically benign. OK.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Well cats don't like water and rarely swim In it, cats don't exactly tolerate being shampooed in general either.

Well, I'm not letting cats off the hook so easily. 😜 If they consume insecticides the same as dogs, then they are not scot-free on this one. :unsure:

There is, after-all, the 'fishing cat'...



🤪
 

BobP

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Well cats don't like water and rarely swim In it, cats don't exactly tolerate being shampooed in general either.

Well said matt. Anyone who decides to shampoo a cat had best book a slot in A & E first. Cats scratch with all four corners together and independently and bite like crazy with the front end. A cat bite is almost certain to result in the aforesaid visit, so if your anti-tetanus is out of date get it done before you introduce puss to the Head & Shoulders.

Bear in mind that if you hold the cat by the scruff of the neck and the skin at the base of the tail you ain't nowhere near safe. They can turn around inside their skin and what was facing away from you is now facing towards you and giving you some serious grief. I speak from experience having been an RSPCA Inspector in my younger and more idealistic day. Do not f*ck with even the mildest moggie because there will only be one winner.

On a personal note matt, thank you for your kind words re my dog. Luckily I have two more but it still leaves a big hole though I must admit that my youngest seems to be determined to fill it.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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You don't know what proportion it accounts for either.

No I don't and I never claimed I did and not knowing makes no matter.

Nobody does, as mentioned in your study.

Well, according to you, 'Flea treatment is only a very small contributor'

You aren't familiar with household pet habits either, apparently, I don't know where you're getting the data from which has made your opinion so strong?

It's really very simple. Identify sources of insecticides entering waterways and killing aquatic invertebrates and make people aware of the need to be careful about their habits - what they are using and the impact it will have if it reaches rivers in active forms. How is that so difficult for Dog People to get their heads round and just make a bit of effort???

My opinion is not 'so strong'. It is just stating that if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem, and it is clear from all the papers published by qualified scientists that pet flea treatments are part of the problem.

So things which shouldn't be in rivers, but which aren't insecticides, are basically benign. OK.

That is not even close to what I said. It is a strawman argument, designed to duck the issue. The subject is: 'Pet flea treatments poisoning rivers across England, scientists find'. Stick to it.
 

blithfield2

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Strikes me that this issue is being side-stepped, denied call it what you will, in a similar fashion to how the hierarchy of the church initially treated certain allegations against vicars and priests.

There is a problem, that we (pet lovers) can assist with - therefore just what is stopping some of us a) recognising the existence of the problem b) and/or doing something constructive to stop it?
 

coire

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Just a thought: in 2016, the latest year I could get data for, according to DEFRA: 97 tons of neonicotinoids were used by farmers in the UK, 96.7 tons of which was clothiandin. Less than 1 kg per year of Fipronil has been used since 2013. 186kg of imidacloprid was used in 2016 but that had fallen from 5,700kg the previous year. So these particular neonicotinoids present in the rivers now must be coming from other sources, as by now most if not all of these would have been washed away.
It's unfortunate that there doesn't seem to be any more recent data as all the neonicotinoid pesticides were banned for agricultural use in 2018. Even allowing for some time to use up stocks, none should have been applied from sometime in 2019 so anything detected since would have to come from one of the remaining legal uses (horticulture and forestry) or illegal use. The same would apply to any non neonicotinoid pesticides detected, including fipronil; if fipronil is currently being found in watercourses it can only come from pet/animal treatments (the only current legal use) or illegal use.

Applying pesticides and other hazardous substances for work purposes (and the products themselves) have been covered by pretty comprehensive legislation for decades in the UK. Not saying that illegal use/bad practice at work doesn't happen but I'd say if fipronil is currently being detected in the environment its more likely to be coming from the legal pet products.
 

Hardrar

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As someone who prescribes companion animal flea treatments and Equine and Bovine anthelmintics and ectoparacides, I find this a fascinating discussion.
Companion animal treatments, while a risk to aquatic environments, must be tiny compared to the thousands of litres of Macrocyclic Lactones, synthetic pyrethroids and insect IGRs that are used to protect the Sheep and Cattle which graze alongside many of our water ways.
I know the volume I sell, often pricks my conscience, as a lifelong Angler, but I also hate to see Sheep and cattle dying from flystrike or Fluke, gut or Lungworm infestation and I do enjoy eating both Lamb and Beef.
That’s without mentioning Arable crops.
 
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Hardrar

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It's unfortunate that there doesn't seem to be any more recent data as all the neonicotinoid pesticides were banned for agricultural use in 2018. Even allowing for some time to use up stocks, none should have been applied from sometime in 2019 so anything detected since would have to come from one of the remaining legal uses (horticulture and forestry) or illegal use. The same would apply to any non neonicotinoid pesticides detected, including fipronil; if fipronil is currently being found in watercourses it can only come from pet/animal treatments (the only current legal use) or illegal use.

Applying pesticides and other hazardous substances for work purposes (and the products themselves) have been covered by pretty comprehensive legislation for decades in the UK. Not saying that illegal use/bad practice at work doesn't happen but I'd say if fipronil is currently being detected in the environment its more likely to be coming from the legal pet products.
It takes an awful long time for residues to work (to use the correct term “leach”) their way through into water catchments, particularly over cation positive clays, often a decade or more.
We will still be detecting them for years after use has ceased. Osr and S Beet seed dressings were the worst culprits, interestingly OSR areas have now fallen by over a third, as the crop is now not really viable in many regions, without adequate protection from cabbage stem flea beetles.
 
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coire

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It takes an awful long time for residues to work (to use the correct term “leach”) their way through into water catchments, particularly over cation positive clays, often a decade or more.
We will still be detecting them for years after use has ceased. Osr and S Beet seed dressings were the worst culprits, interestingly OSR areas have now fallen by over a third, as the crop is now not really viable without adequate protection from cabbage stem flea beetles.
I agree, It can take a lot of time for these chemicals to work their way into watercourses. I don't know, but would guess that the pesticide monitoring may be sophisticated enough to assess whether any contamination is the result of long term leaching from historic applications, or more recent. It would be interesting to know for sure. The time taken for the pesticide to get into a watercourse also depends on how it's applied - a long time (and ideally never) if applied correctly but potentially very quickly if not e.g. insufficient or no buffer next to watercourses, spray drift in windy conditions and (probably most commonly) incorrect/illegal disposal. When it comes to the pet/animal treatments, my guess is that contamination from spot on treatments doesn't seem that likely, but someone finding a half used container of spray on frontline during a garage clear out and unthinkingly pouring it down the drain, isn't that unlikely. Teaspoonfuls of pesticide products (not just the active ingredient) are capable of a lot of harm if they can get into a watercourse by a pretty direct route.

Like you, this also pricks my conscience as my work sometimes involves pesticide use.
 

Hardrar

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One of the Rivers I have fished for years has old clay land drains, that empty directly into it from neighbouring fields. When these drains were set, probably well pre-war, most of this land would have been lowland permanent pasture. The animals grazing upon it would not have had the anthelmintics or ectoparacides available to have used upon them, so the river was very clean then, with a high natural population of Grayling Trout Roach and Dace.
A lot of this land was ploughed out under WarAg and remains in arable production today. Any crop protection products used, will soon be leaching into the river, from these drains which still run.
Some of the elderly property owners, who walk along the banks, often tell me that the Grayling shoals were so dense in the sixties, that the surface boiled with their activity in places, during spawning.
We still have a reasonable Mayfly Hatch, but nothing like the Blizzards we used to encounter 20 or more years ago. The Hatches were often so dense, cars driving along the adjoining roads had to drive slowly, as you literally couldn’t see were you were going for them on June Evenings.
 

Hardrar

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What do they use on sheep :unsure:
Organophosphates or Diazinon, trade name of Gold Fleece by Bimeda, becoming more commonly used against Sheep Scab mite, Lucilla Seracata, Anoplura and Phthiraptera Lice, common Keds and ticks - Ixodes Ricinus.
There are spot-on treatments too, but these don’t work on Scab (Psoroptes Ovis) mites. Synthetic Pyrethroids and Deltamethrin.
IGRs Insect growth regulators, are also widely used annually to combat Lucilla attack, insect larvae cannot feed or moult through the larvel stages, so die of starvation.
Plunge dipping is becoming more popular as Ivermectin and moxidectin or macrocyclic lactone injectables also round worm the sheep and in some cases, when not needed, excess use of them can increase resistant populations of parasitic gut and lung worms.
Macrocyclic lactones hammer the pasture micro fauna and won’t do the aquatic insect populations much good. Sadly a lot of sheep pasture is on land unsuitable for cultivation as it’s wet and near watercourses, thus bringing sheep in proximity to our waterways.
If the sheep are not treated they are all eaten alive (internally and externally) and will die without any question-it’s a pretty horrific topic. I’ve seen 50% of a flock wiped out over a two week period with vets prescribing the wrong treatments- I saved the rest in this case with the correct therapeutic.
It’s all about really careful management and balance to protect the livestock and restrict environmental damage.
And I haven’t even mentioned Dairy Beef and Horses!
 
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wrongfoot

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This might be true. There's a source and pathway to the receptor after all. Reading this thread, I see question about significance, and conflation with other sources for starters though?

I'd wait until it's been through a fair bit of peer review before quoting it as such, because I'm a little familiar with EA data sets, how they monitor and how this monitoring has changed.

The analysis is usually sound, and the sample taken correctly, but there are often significant issues with the whole purpose and scale of the various sampling and monitoring regimes.
I've come across problems because of -
Limited and inappropriate sampling locations, no "proper" upstream sampling locations (merely other sample points that happen to be upstream in a catchment) sampling reference catchments on different days under different weather conditions, reduction in sampling at different depths, data from one sub-catchment being also being reported as data from another geographically nearbly, but not hydrologically connected to the sample location. That's the simple stuff, I could go on and on... Without some very thorough and careful data validation prior to any statistical interpretation the final conclusions drawn are often far from scientific.

Trying to lever years of differing national EA data sets for research purposes is fraught with danger Will Thomas!

"Sites immediately downstream of wastewater treatment works had the highest levels of fipronil and imidacloprid, supporting the hypothesis that [...]" Nearly all EA monitoring sites are downstream of known risk processes, too often without an U/S sample, so can any hypothesis be drawn or is the whole data set weighted to these D/S locations by design of monitoring regime? Which EA locations were chosen for the fiprole and imidacloprid analysis? Selection bias? I don't know and all that's available to the public is the abstract and conclusions.

I'll try and get a look at a full copy, but until then (and probably still after) I'm only going to discuss this as an interesting first study, not as scientific consensus. Not trying to undermine, as if it's correct then it wouldn't be the first time we've underestimated pollutant load from a use/source...
 
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