Neonics impact all species that chew a plant, sip its sap, drink its nectar, eat its pollen or fruit and these impacts cascade through an ecosystem weakening its stability.

The combination of persistence (over months or years) and solubility in water has led to large scale contamination of, and the potential for accumulation in, soils and sediments, ground and surface water and treated and non-treated vegetation.

In addition to contaminating non-target species through direct exposure (e.g. insects consuming nectar from treated plants), the chemicals are also found in varying concentrations outside treated areas. They run off into surrounding soil and aquatic habitats easily. This polluted water, along with the dust created during the drilling of treated seeds, can contaminate wild plants growing in agricultural field margins and hedgerows providing the potential for major impacts on a broad range of non-target herbivorous invertebrates living in or near farmland.

This provides multiple routes for chronic and acute exposure of non-target species. Organisms inhabiting farmland are being chronically exposed and so are aquatic organisms living downstream of farmland, including inhabitants of riparian zones, estuarine and coastal marine systems.

The large scale bioavailability of these insecticides in the global environment at levels that are known to cause lethal and sub-lethal effects on a wide range of terrestrial, aquatic and soil beneficial microorganisms, invertebrates and vertebrates, poses risks to ecosystem functioning and services provided by terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including soil and freshwater functions such as litter break down and nutrient cycling, food production, biological pest control, and pollination services.