Neurotoxic pesticides blamed for the world's bee collapse are also harming butterflies, worms, fish and birds, said a scientific review that called Tuesday for tighter regulation to curb their use.
Analysing two decades of reports on the topic, an international panel of 29 scientists found there was "clear evidence of harm" from use of two pesticide types, neonicotinoids and fipronil.
And the evidence was "sufficient to trigger regulatory action".
"We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment," said Jean-Marc Bonmatin of France's National Centre for Scientific Research, co-author of the report entitled the Worldwide Integrated Assessment.
Far from protecting food production, these nerve-targeting insecticides known as neonics were "imperilling the pollinators, habitat engineers and natural pest controllers at the heart of a functioning ecosystem."
The four-year assessment was carried out by The Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, which advises the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world's watchdog on species loss.
Neonics are widely used insecticides whose effects can be instant and lethal, or chronic. Exposure can impair smell and memory in some species, curb procreation, reduce foraging, cause flight difficulties and increase disease susceptibility.
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