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Bayer, bees & the Hall of Shame

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This may be the only time you see PAN nominate a pesticide manufacturer for an award.

Every year, our friends at Corporate Accountability International (CAI) highlight the year’s worst corporate actors in their Corporate Hall of Shame. The Hall of Shame helps hold corporations accountable for the most egregious examples of corporate abuse. This year, we’re partnering with CAI to nominate a particularly bad actor in our food and farming system: Bayer CropScience.

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Sara Knight's picture

Bees in the spin cycle

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It's no surprise: pesticide corporations go to great lengths to protect the public image of their products. We've been highlighting their PR hijinks for years, and their attempts to spin facts to suit their agenda have only gotten more blatant.

Bees and pesticides provide the latest example. Corporate attempts to reframe the conversation, and subvert independent science, have gone into hyperdrive. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto in particular are positioning themselves as "bee friendly" — no matter that several top selling pesticide products are directly linked to bee deaths.

Sara Knight
Margaret Reeves's picture

Bayer fined for endangering farmworkers

EPA recently fined Bayer CropSciences $53,000 for endangering the lives of farmworkers with pesticide exposure in their Puerto Rican research and nursery operations. While this is a tiny drop in Bayer's multi-million dollar budget, we do take it as an encouraging sign.

The good news: When rules are enforced — in this case, the federal Worker Protection Standards (WPS) — employers are held accountable for protecting workers from exposure to hazardous pesticides. The less good news: Enforcement actions like this one are all too rare, and the WPS itself is old, inadequate and in serious need of an upgrade.

Margaret Reeves
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Syngenta takes aim at EU's neonic ban

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Last week, Syngenta filed a legal challenge against the European Union's decision to suspend use of its pesticide, thiamethoxam. At the heart of the challenge? Syngenta says their product is wrongly accused of contributing to bee declines.

But the independent science detailing harm to bees from this and other pesticides is clear. And earlier this year, after reviewing the evidence for themselves, European policymakers determined that three widely used neonicotinoids — including thiamethoxam — pose a "high acute risk" to honey bees. Still, the pesticide corporation is protesting. Vehemently.

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Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Syngenta's shopping spree not limited to Black Friday

Over last week’s Thanksgiving holiday, many Americans will have paused to savor the blessings of health, family and community. Some of us will have binged on too much turkey and consumption-crazed Black Friday sales. But for the world’s biggest pesticide and seed biotech companies, the entire year has been one long feeding frenzy. This frenzy culminated in recent months in a multi-billion dollar spending spree in which, reports Bloomberg, three of the "Big 6" pesticide companies (Syngenta, Bayer and BASF) together shelled out over two billion dollars to acquire biopesticide and other “green product” companies.  

Concerns over corporate "greenwashing" notwithstanding, the larger issue here is a new frontier of market-making and corporate consolidation from the people who brought us "DDT is good for me" commercials. 

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
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EPA sidesteps chance to protect bees

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All too often, the rules of pesticide regulation are cumbersome and make for slow change. But EPA had an opportunity to take swift, decisive action to protect bees — and they let it pass. 

Today, the agency announced it is denying the request by beekeepers to declare Bayer's pesticide, clothianidin, an "imminent hazard" to bees and will not be suspending the chemical's use.  

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Almond joy! - Victory for bees

With little fanfare, pesticide manufacturer Bayer has asked California regulators to limit the use of one of their most profitable products, imidacloprid.

Rather than undergo the public scrutiny and cost involved in a state-mandated re-evaluation of the pesticide's impact on bees, emerging reports say the company has requested imidacloprid be restricted from use on almond crops, which honey bees are trucked in from around the country to pollinate each February.

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Medha Chandra's picture

Bayer agrees to pull worst pesticides — finally!

I want to share some good news that brightened my day. One of the largest pesticide manufacturers in the world — Bayer CropScience — announced on September 15 that it will withdraw its most hazardous pesticides from the global market. 

This is huge victory for the PAN International network and other NGOs from Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa who have campaigned for years for Bayer to take this step. While I'm happy that Bayer finally did the right thing, it saddens me that the company waited 16 years to act after it first promised to withdraw these pesticides back in 1995. Who knows how many pesticide poisonings worldwide could have been avoided?

Medha Chandra

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