Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Environmental, Agricultural & Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Dr. Eleanor Rogan

Second Committee Member

Dr. Muhammad Zahid

Third Committee Member

Dr. Todd Wyatt


Mead, Nebraska, a small United States agricultural community consisting of approximately 600 people, was accidentally exposed to high amounts of neonicotinoids when AltEn, an ethanol plant that used neonicotinoid coated corn and soybean seeds for biofuel, was discovered not disposing of the toxic byproduct safely. Coincidentally, there was also a leak in their wastewater system that also contaminated the nearby areas. Although neonicotinoids are not considered highly dangerous with low dose exposures, large dose exposures can cause symptoms similarly to nicotine poisonings, such as difficulty breathing, vomiting, nausea, hypertension, tachycardia, and lethargy (Imamura, T. et al., 2010). Neonicotinoid poisoning can be fatal as it impacts multiple organ systems, and there is no standard practice of care to treat such poisonings as symptoms amongst cases are variable (Lin, P. et al., 2013).

Current research suggests that neonicotinoids are linked to several toxicities such neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, renal toxicity, genotoxicity, and cardiotoxicity. The main goal of this review was to compile current research from the last 10-15 years on each of the neonicotinoids and display the human health effects that each of the compounds may cause. The minor goal was to analyze data collected from an environmental health risk perception survey given to the Mead community to see any association between what people reported experiencing from the AltEn event and different neonicotinoid health effects that can occur from acute and chronic exposure.