Shortage of pollinators could be killing 427,000 people a year

Inadequate numbers of bees and other pollinators have a huge impact on human health due to lower production of fruit and vegetables, according to a modeling study

Health


December 21, 2022

Bee on a rape flower

Many important crops rely on bees for pollination

Daniel Olbrich/Moment RF/Getty Images

Insufficient pollination of crops poses a human health risk comparable to substance use disorders or prostate cancer, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands worldwide.

Three-quarters of agricultural crop varieties are pollinated by animals such insects, birds and bats. Many populations of key pollinators, such as bees, are in decline, and their loss results in lower production of fruit and vegetables.

MatthewSmith at Harvard University and his colleagues used data on pollinators, 63 pollinator-dependent crops, international trade, diet and chronic diseases …

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