Honey as a Pollution Detector? It’s a Sweet Idea

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A survey of urban beehives around Vancouver, which was published last week in Nature Sustainability, showed that the hives’ honey contained minute levels of lead, especially downtown and near the city’s port. The readings suggest that honey can be a sensitive indicator of air quality. And with urban hives growing in number and already more numerous than many people realize, tracking their pollutant levels may offer an inexpensive way to monitor what’s in the air all over the world, said Dominique Weis, a professor of geochemistry at the University of British Columbia and a co-author of the paper.

This study was funded through Dominique Weis' Wall Solutions Initiative: Honey Bees as Bioindicators of Environmental Pollution.