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Shellfish Farmers in Pacific Northwest to Use Imidacloprid | Chem Service Reference Standards | Greyhound Chromatography

Shellfish Farmers in Pacific Northwest to Use Imidacloprid

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In the Pacific Northwest, you're more likely to see a tree or seafood farm than someone growing cereals on a large scale. But just like with traditional crops, chemical pesticides can be critical to a successful yield.

According to the regional newspaper The Daily Astorian, shellfish farmers in the area recently won approval to start using imidacloprid in their breeding facilities. The Washington Department of Ecology gave farmers the go-ahead to use this neonicotinoid to protect oysters and other shellfish from burrowing shrimp.

Protecting a major industry

This move allows pesticide use in Washington's Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, where shellfish farming is a major industry. The Daily Astorian reported that shellfish production in the bays has been happening for more than 100 years and currently adds about $270 million into the local economy, according to government data. The economic importance of the shellfish industry is likely a major reason why the permit for imidacloprid was given.

"The shellfish industry is a key economic contributor in Washington's coastal areas and, by issuing this permit, we can help protect the economic vitality of these family businesses for years to come," the newspaper quoted Director for the Department of Ecology's Southwest Region Sally Toteff from an April 16 statement.

Although there's solid evidence that this pesticide can help protect shellfish from burrowing shrimp, some people in the area are hesitant to add more of this chemical compound to the environment, because imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids have been tied to deaths or weakening of bee colonies. Critics are worried both about what the pesticide will do to the ecosystem, the environment at large and the oysters themselves.

As part of this new permit, the Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association has to follow a strict set of rules, including regular oversight and a once-only application period to a certain area of land. Little is known about imidacloprid's likely impact on the bay area, and a 2013 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report pointed to potential risks to the environment from the then-proposed permit, according to the newspaper.

What is imidacloprid?

Scientists will monitor and study the use of imidacloprid in this case to understand what impact it will have in Washington, but the best way to predict its effects is to understand the pesticide.

Chemically written as 1-(6-chloro-3-pyridylmethyl)-N-nitroimidazolidin-2-ylideneamine or C9H10ClN5O2,imidacloprid is a synthetic neonicotinoid first introduced to the U.S. in 1994, The National Pesticide Information Center noted. It is used in hundreds of commercial and consumer pesticides because it kills a wide array of pests.

Its mode of action is to bind to insect nerve cells and inhibit normal function by stopping signals from being sent. Eventually this leads to death. Imidacloprid has minor affects on humans and birds, but is very lethal to insects and some invertebrates, the NPIC noted.

This chemical is widely used and very popular, but has drawn much criticism for its effects on bees. Recent studies have shown that bees are attracted to and negatively affected by neonicotinoid pesticides like imidacloprid (also sold as Admire®; Confidor®; Gaucho®; Merit®; 1-[(6-Chloro-3-pyridinyl)methyl]-N-nitro-2-imidazolidinimine).

A full range of Chem Service Inc. Certified Reference Standards and Materials available from Greyhound Chromatography. Chem Service, Inc. produces high purity standards for use as reference materials and for other laboratory purposes. More than 95% of the Standards Grade materials have a certified purity of 98.0% or greater and do not require purity corrections when preparing solutions for use with EPA, USTM, UST, and numerous other international methods. You can trust that Chem Service Inc. high purity standards are a quality product. 


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