Temporal and spatial trends of imidacloprid-related hazards in France

Neonicotinoids are the top-selling insecticides worldwide. Because of their method of use, mainly to coat seeds, neonicotinoids have been found to widely contaminate the environment. Their high toxicity has been shown to be a major concern in terms of impact on biodiversity, and the use of these insecticides has been associated with population declines of species in different countries. Despite the widespread recognition of the risk of neonicotinoids to biodiversity, their temporal and spatial use remains poorly known in many countries. Yet this information is essential to address the potential impacts of these pesticides on biodiversity and to inform measures to establish protected areas or biodiversity restoration. The present study relied a large publicly available dataset to characterise the temporal and spatial use in France of imidacloprid, the most widely used neonicotinoid worldwide, as well as analysed water contamination surveys between 2005 and 2022 to assess the contamination of the environment. The results show that imidacloprid was the main neonicotinoid used in France over the study period. This use was spatially structured, with higher use in northern and western France, particularly related to cereal and beet crops area. The water contamination survey indicated that imidacloprid has widely contaminated the environment and consequently increased the risk to biodiversity, especially in counties crossed by the Loire, Seine and Vilaine rivers. This risk increased between 2005 and 2018 due to the higher use of imidacloprid and decreased sharply after 2018 due to its ban, although it was reauthorized by derogation for sugar beet in 2021. This study is the first assessment of imidacloprid pressure on biodiversity in France and shows the spatial and temporal correlation between agricultural practices and the freshwater contamination level. These results will help to identify priority areas for mitigation and restoration measures.


Agriculture, Pesticide risks, Pesticide pollution, Surface water monitoring, Biodiversity decline

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Perrot Thomas, Bonmatin Jean-Marc, Jactel Hervé, Leboulanger Christophe, Goffaux Robin, Gaba Sabrina (2024). Temporal and spatial trends of imidacloprid-related hazards in France. Science Of The Total Environment. 945. 173950 (7p.). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.173950, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00894/100626/

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