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Pet flea treatment polluting Britain’s freshwaters

A new study by insect and small animal charity Buglife has found that British freshwaters are heavily contaminated with neonicotinoids, which are used in flea treatments and greenhouses.

The study took 23 samples from different sites in 2016; 16 from England, four in Scotland, three in Wales and three in Northern Ireland. The sample data from Northern Ireland is yet to be released.

The presence of five commonly used neonicotinoids – Imidacloprid, Clothianidin, Thiamethoxam, Acetamiprid and Thiacloprid – were tested for.

Aquatic insects, bees and flying insects are all vulnerable to the insecticide which can ultimately have an impact on the fish and bird population.

The results showed that 88% of samples in Britain were contaminated with neonicotinoids, eight rivers in England exceeded recommended chronic pollution limits, and two were acutely polluted. Half of the sites monitored in England exceeded chronic pollution limits.

Matt Shardlow, CEO, Buglife, said: “We are devastated to discover that many British rivers have been heavily damaged by neonicotinoid insecticides. It is vital that action is taken to completely ban these three toxins, including in greenhouses and on pets, before another year of disgraceful pollution occurs.”

It is recommended that vets and retailers dispose of the products appropriately and also advise customers to do so.

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