Pesticides are killing the world’s soils

By | June 6, 2021

Nathan Donley and Tari Gunstone write:

Scoop up a shovelful of healthy soil, and you’ll likely be holding more living organisms than there are people on the planet Earth.

Like citizens of an underground city that never sleeps, tens of thousands of subterranean species of invertebrates, nematodes, bacteria and fungi are constantly filtering our water, recycling nutrients and helping to regulate the earth’s temperature.

But beneath fields covered in tightly knit rows of corn, soybeans, wheat and other monoculture crops, a toxic soup of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides is wreaking havoc, according to our newly published analysis in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science.

The study, the most comprehensive review ever conducted on how pesticides affect soil health, should trigger immediate and substantive changes in how regulatory agencies like the EPA assess the risks posed by the nearly 850 pesticide ingredients approved for use in the U.S.

Currently, regulators completely ignore pesticides’ harm to earthworms, springtails, beetles and thousands of other subterranean species.

Our study leaves no doubt that must change. [Continue reading…]

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