Bee deaths linked to Bayer pesticides

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In April 2007 when Food and Faith Blog was born, we asked the question: Why are the bees dying? A year later, some answers are emerging.

Following the mass deaths of bees and other insects in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany’s Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) suspended use of eight seed-treatment pesticides. Germany’s Professional Beekeeper’s Association reported “50 to 60% of the bees have died, on average, and some beekeepers have lost all their hives.”

Business Week reports “many suspect one of Germany’s biggest chemical companies is to blame.” Germany’s Research Center for Cultivated Plants determined that “29 out of 30” of the dead bees tested were killed by exposure to clothianidin, the active ingredient in Bayer’s Eldado and Poncho pesticides.

The Coalition against Bayer Dangers (CBG) has “been pointing on the risks of neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid and clothianidin for almost 10 years now,” but because these two products account for much of Bayer’s annual profits, the company continues to fight prohibitions.

France banned most uses of imidacloprid in 1999 and in 2003 the Comité Scientifuque et Technique declared the chemical a “significant risk” to bees. Earlier this year, France rejected Bayer’s application to sell clothianidin in France. Because of the accumulated evidence of harm, CBG is calling for a worldwide ban on these products. See the Press Release


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