According to a new study, dementia caused by exposure to aluminum may be one of the factors responsible for the alarming decline of bee population.
The researcher who conducted the study detailed their findings in a paper published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
The scientists believe that bees may develop dementia because they are exposed to aluminum during their life cycle.
In order to come to these conclusions, the scientists examined the pupae of the bumblebees and measured the aluminum content.
Three of the researchers involved in the study, Dave Goulson, Ellen Rotheray from Sussex University and Chris Exley from Keele University, explained that following the analysis of the bee pupae they discovered a high content of aluminum.
The authors of the study wrote that aluminium is one of the most common environmental contaminant and one of the causes that lead to the decline of the bee population.
The scientists explained that when the bees are out collecting nectar for pollination, they also come in contact with plants that are contaminated with aluminum.
According to the researchers, the quantities of aluminum collected from the bees were enough to cause brain tissue damage in humans.
The authors of the study said that the aluminum counts ranged from 13 to 200 parts per million, while the highest concentration was found in the smallest bee pupae.
They explained that only three parts is considered toxic for humans.
Aluminum is a chemical element that is very toxic for the environment.
This compound is present in lots of products used on a daily basis by humans.
Previous studies have linked aluminum to environmental issues like deforestation, extinction of fish species and difficulties in crop production.
According to an official report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the bee population has been on a decline since the 1940s. It went down from 5 million to 2.5 million we have today.
Experts say there are many factors responsible for the decline of bee population, such the use of pesticides, parasites, the lack of pollen, and more recently, exposure to aluminum.
Chris Exley, professor at Keele University, explained that there is a number of factors that led to the decline of bees and other pollinating insects, including parasitical attacks, lack of flowers and exposure to pesticides.
According to Exley, aluminium is a powerful neurotoxin that affects the animal behavior. He believes that bees that are exposed to aluminum might develop dementia, which could lead to a decline in their population.
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