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Many investigators have employed honeybees or honeybee products as tools for assessing environmental pollution in industrial areas. The pollution in northwest Italy by insecticides used in crop protection, heavy metals and radioactivity has been investigated utilizing, as a bioindicator: honeybees, bee honey, wax, pollen produced in this area. Honeybees and honeybee products samples collected from 6 apiaries located in this area were analyzed for neonicotinoids residues with LC/MS method, pesticides organochlorines and organophosphates by GCECD and GC-NPD methods, PCB using GC-MS, radioactivity on 137Cs by g spectrometer and heavy metals with atomic spectroscopy. The results show: 19 honeybee samples were positive on neonicotinoids (clothianidin) residues (total of 78 samples), no one sample was positive on pesticides organochlorines and organophosphates residues (total of 32 honeybee samples), the radioactivity levels were always below the instrumental limit determination, at last the heavy metal content (Pb, Cd, Cr) on 21 honey samples was favorable. This study indicates that in agricultural areas with developed apiculture, useful information about the occurrence and the distribution of pesticide residues due to crop protection treatments can be derived from the analysis of randomly collected honeybee products samples, used as bioindicators.
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