A scientific advisory committee has reviewed the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) investigation into samples of imidacloprid found in drinking water wells. In its recommendations to DPR on Tuesday, the committee ruled the neonicotinoid is not polluting wells at unsafe levels.

An investigation last year discovered 15 groundwater wells in Fresno, Santa Barbara and Tulare counties with high concentrations of imidacloprid, which came from legal agricultural use of the pesticide.

The scientists raised concerns that DPR based its findings on a single spike in a well that served a vacant house. The sample also appeared murky, unlike any other samples.

But seeing how easily the pesticide could spread in groundwater, they encouraged DPR to continue monitoring wells.

Imidacloprid is an insecticide used on a wide variety of agricultural and non-agricultural sites to control a variety of insect pests. Imidacloprid was initially registered in 1994, and as of September 10, 2021, 253 products containing imidacloprid were registered for agricultural and non-agricultural use in California.

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