A recent study has found that aluminum-based pesticides are causing working bees to develop dementia once they stumble upon a plant whose nectar contains the neurotoxin. This is a mental illness which in turn affects the bees’ abilities to fly properly and to seek out food.
Some scientists have long suspected that aluminum is linked to mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, and now researchers from several universities in south England have found between 13 and 193 parts of aluminum per million in bee pupae (a stage that bees find themselves in before adulthood). Experts say that the levels are is high enough to even damage a human brain.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, disproves theories that say bees are gong extinct due to a lack of flora, nefarious parasites or harmful radiation.
Bees have been found to have fairly complex brains, capable of forming memories and scientists believe that they rely heavily on them when they fly around the flowers to collect pollen and food. But they do not have a defense mechanism that enables them to detect the aluminum in nectar and move on to a different plant before they ingest the neurotoxin that affects their brains.
Biologists at Keele University and University of Sussex have released a statement saying that aluminum is without a doubt “most significant environmental contaminant of recent times”. It is only one of several statements to blame aluminum for various harmful effects in our modern times.
Previous studies have shown how aluminum is endangering multiple species of fish due to the high levels of the neurotoxin that can be found in acid rain. The EPA is so concerned over the seriousness of the issue it even stresses that in high enough levels it can even eliminate a species entirely from any given body of water.
In addition to this the acid rain gets into the ground and causes farmers to either battle crop production problems or lose entire crops due to soil acidity.
Not only that, but aluminum is also damaging the soil. It notoriously deprives the soil of nutrients that plants need in order to grow, which in turn benefits deforestation.
Chris Exley of Keele University and Ellen Rotheray and Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex are convinced that aluminum, and specifically aluminum found in pesticides, is one of the main factors that are killing out bees.
Chris Exley of Keele University even gave a statement saying that “Aluminum is a known neurotoxin affecting behavior in animal models of aluminum intoxication”. He wonders out loud if the scientific community now had to deal with bees with Alzheimer’s disease.
Some biologists blame human not only the aluminum that manufacturers put into their product, but they also say that burning fossil fuels create acid rain and that mining aluminum ores in order to make metals and / or salts pretty much guarantees the ever-presence of aluminum.
Earlier this year, in May, the White House announced it will be taking new steps in order to protect the bee population in the United States. It will start by plantings flowers that are bee-friendly.
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