Neonicotinoids, also known as NNIs or Neonics, is the most widely used pesticide around the world.  The pesticide is made up of a group of pesticides that target the neuron pathway found in most insects rather than vertebrates.

However, with this being said, studies have shown that mice, rats and fish have exhibited some level of toxicity, which does vary based upon the specific type of Neonic used.


A study,, showed that one certain neonic called Imidacloprid, was toxic (which was referred to as LD50) in many birds as well as fish.  They were noted as sub-lethal levels , this means death was not a result, but neurological effects were shown such as reduced learning and cognitive abilities.

Neonics began being  used in the 1990’s and their use has grown over the last 10 years.  Today, almost 100% of corn seeds are treated with it here in Canada.

Concern for the use of Neonics reached an epic peak when in 2014 Canadian beekeepers in Ontario & Quebec noticed that all their bees were dying off at an alarming rate.  Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) visited some of the affected apiaries to colect samples of their dead bees.  It was found after testing that 70% tested positive for Neonics.

Neonics is water soluble and is absorbed and carried throughout a plant therefore protecting it from pests.  Only 2% – 30% is actually absorbed by the plant.  The remaining amount is taken in by the surrounding soil which in turn spreads to non-targeted organisms such as butterflies, bees, small rodents, fish, etc.  The most recent evidence suggest even to humans.

Such symptoms in humans that have been indicated through research studies by Kumiko Tairo in Gunma Prefecture, near Tokyo in 2004 & 2005 included  headaches and memory loss.  The most prevalent symptom in all examined 1,111 cases was a headache, followed by shoulder and chest pain.  Urinalysis detected high doses of Neonics.  Brain scans revealed that the mid-brain was clearly affected.  The study by Kumiko Tairo suggested that the likely culprit was tea leaves which were contaminated due to leaching pesticide into the soil.  Aerial spraying has also been noted to put residents at risk of increased exposure due to drift.

It has been stated by Kumiko Tairo, “We speculate that Neonics are retained in the human body, and continuous use may pollute human tissue”.

While no such human studies have been conducted here in Canada Glenn Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change has said there isn’t enough evidence on the extended use of NNIs in our environment.

The full article cab be viewed here:  By Nicole Mortillaro, April 20, 2016.