Press Release, May 21, 2008
Coalition against BAYER Dangers (Germany)
Mass death of bees in Germany: Pesticide approvals suspended
“Bayer has to take Gaucho and Poncho from the market worldwide
The German Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has ordered the immediate suspension of the approval for eight seed treatment products due to the mass death of bees in Germany's Baden-Wuerttemberg state. The suspended products are: Antarc (ingredient: imidacloprid; produced by Bayer), Chinook (imidacloprid; Bayer), Cruiser (thiamethoxam; Syngenta), Elado (clothianidin; Bayer), Faibel (imidacloprid; Bayer), Mesurol (methiocarb; Bayer) and Poncho (clothianidin; Bayer). According to the German Research Centre for Cultivated Plants 29 out of 30 dead bees it had examined had been killed by contact with clothianidin. Also wild bees and other insects are suffering from a significant loss of population.
“We have been pointing on the risks of neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid and clothianidin for almost ten years now. With an annual turn-over of nearly 800 million Euro (1.25 billion US dollar) imidacloprid and clothianidin are among Bayer´s most important products. This is the reason why Bayer, despite serious environmental damage, is fighting against any application prohibitions, says Philipp Mimkes, speaker of the Coalition against BAYER-dangers. The Coalition demands that Bayer withdraw all neonicotinoids from the market worldwide.
Bayer is the worldmarket leader for pesticides. With sales of 556 million Euro in 2007, imidacloprid is Bayer´s best selling pesticide product. In Germany imidacloprid is used under the brand names Gaucho, Antarc and Chinook, primarily during the cultivation of rape, sugar-beet and corn.
“It's a real bee emergency, said Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeeper's Association. “Fifty to 60 percent of the bees have died on average, and some beekeepers have lost all their hives. Beekeepers and agricultural officials in Italy, France and Holland all noticed similar phenomena in their fields when planting began a few weeks ago.
In France most applications of imidacloprid were already banned in 1999. In 2003 the Comité Scientifique et Technique, convened by the French government, declared that the treatment of seeds with imidacloprid produces a significant risk for bees. Only a few months ago Bayer´s application for clothianidin was rejected by French authorities.
Clothianidin is a non-selective poison. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's fact sheet 'clothianidin is highly toxic to honey bees.' Seeds are treated with clothianidin in advance or sprayed with it while in the field, and the insecticide can also be blown onto other crops. The chemical is often sprayed on corn fields during the spring planting to create a protective film on cornfields.
The Guardian: Germany bans chemicals linked to honeybee devastation
=> Sierra Club urges EPA to suspend nicotinyl insecticides: http://www.sierraclub.org/biotech/whatsnew/whatsnew_2008-07-30.asp
=> Press Release of the Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (German): http://www.jki.bund.de/cln_044/nn_813794/DE/pressestelle/Presseinfos/2008/1605__BienensterbenClothianidin.html__nnn=true
=> Bee-keepers and environmental groups demand prohibition of pesticide "Gaucho"
=> French Institutes Finds Imidaproclid Turning Up in Wide Range of Crops
=> 2003 report from the "Comité Scientifique et Technique de lEtude Multifactorielle des Troubles des Abeilles" http://agriculture.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/rapportfin.pdf