London: A class of pesticides tied to mass bee deaths is also harming butterflies, worms, fish and birds, a new research has warned.
A group of 29 scientists from four continents found unequivocal evidence from hundreds of published studies to claim that "neonics` - the most widely used pesticides in the world - are having a dramatic impact on the ecosystems that support food production and wildlife.
The researchers have concluded that "systemic" pesticides such as the neonicotinoids pose as great a risk to the environment as the banned pesticide DDT, and other persistent organophosphates, `The Independent` reported.
Systemic pesticides are absorbed by all parts of a plant, including roots, leaves, flowers, fruit and even nectar and pollen.
The Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, set up four years ago, analysed 800 peer-reviewed scientific reports on neonicotinoids and fibronil, another type of systemic pesticide.
One of the lead authors of the report, Jean-Marc Bonmartin of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France, said that the published evidence of the link between neonics and damage to wildlife and the environment was now clear.
"We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates and DDT," Bonmartin said.
The report, called the Worldwide Integrated Assessment, found that neonics posed a risk not just to honeybees but to a variety of other animals, such as soil-conditioning earthworms, aquatic invertebrates and even birds and fish.
Neonics accumulate in the soil and persist for months and in some cases for years, researchers found.
The breakdown products are often as toxic - or more toxic - than the pesticide`s active ingredients, which are designed to work as poisonous nerve agents.