Pesticides are causing widespread damage to the tiny creatures that keep soils healthy and underpin all life on land, according to the first comprehensive review of the issue.
The researchers found the measured impacts of farm chemicals on earthworms, beetles, springtails and other organisms were overwhelmingly negative. Other scientists said the findings were alarming, given the importance of these “unsung heroes”.
The analysis warned that soil organisms are rarely considered when assessing the environmental impact of pesticides. The US, for example, only tests chemicals on honey bees, which may never come into contact with soil, an approach described as “crazy”.
A UN report published in December found that the future looked…