Monday, January 19, 2009

Take Glufosinate (Bayer's Herbicide) off the Market immediately!

Press Release, January 19, 2009
Coalition against Bayer Dangers
Take Glufosinate off the Market immediately!
Bayer´s herbicide among 22 most dangerous substances / Coalition alsodemands ban on glufosinate-resistant plants
The Coalition against Bayer Dangers demands an immediate ban on theherbicide glufosinate and a suspension of all approvals of glufosinate-resistant crops. European Parliament members voted last week to banpesticides classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic toreproduction. Permits for 22 substances, among them glufosinate, willnot be renewed.
Philipp Mimkes from the Coalition against Bayer Dangers: “Pesticidessuch as glufosinate that have been proven hazardous for operators,consumers and the environment must be removed from the market straightaway. The EU ban on glufosinate must also have consequences for theapproval of GM crops: no more permissions for glufosinate-resistantplants must be granted in the European Union!”
Bayer CropScience, based in Germany, sells glufosinate under thetrademarks Basta and Liberty. The substance is one of the best-sellingherbicides in the world, with sales in 2007 of € 241 million. Bayer iscurrently expanding glufosinate production capacity in Germany.
A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluation states thatglufosinate poses a high risk to mammals. The substance is classifiedas reprotoxic, with laboratory experiments causing premature birth,intra-uterine death and abortions in rats. Japanese studies show thatthe substance can also hamper the development and activity of thehuman brain. The new EU regulation declares a ban on all CRM(carcinogenic, reprotoxic and mutagenic) pesticides from categories Iand II. Glufosinate is classified as falling in reprotoxic categoryII. Already in 2006 Swedish authorities demanded an EU-wide ban.
In the U.S. and Latin America the ingredient is widely used as a“super herbicide” for genetically modified crops, mainly on rapeseed,maize, soy bean, cotton, rice and sugar beet. Bayer requested EUapproval for several glufosinate-resistant plants, among them agenetically altered rice (LL Rice 62). In 2006 a similar rice (LL Rice601) that was never approved was found in food supplies across theworld and led to the largest GM contamination scandal so far.
The Coalition against Bayer Dangers also demands that BAYER publishesall studies on pesticides and chemicals. Jan Pehrke from the Coalitionsaid: “Industry must not be allowed to hide unwelcome information.Full public access to health and environmental data about substancesthat are released into the environment and used on our food isnecessary.”
For more information:
* Letter to EU Ministers (2006): Act now for a ban of Bayer´sglufosinate * Reject Bayer's application to import genetically modified riceinto the EU
Coalition against BAYER Dangerswww.CBGnetwork.orgCBGnetwork@aol.comTel: (+49) 211-333 911 Fax: (+49) 211-333 940please send an e-mail for receiving the English newsletter KeycodeBAYER free of charge
Advisory BoardProf. Juergen Junginger, designer, Krefeld,Prof. Dr. Juergen Rochlitz, chemist, former member of the Bundestag,BurgwaldWolfram Esche, attorney, CologneDr. Sigrid Müller, pharmacologist, BremenEva Bulling-Schroeter, member of the Bundestag, BerlinProf. Dr. Anton Schneider, biologist, NeubeuernDr. Janis Schmelzer, historian, BerlinDr. Erika Abczynski, pediatrician, Dormagen
Bayer Funding of Beekeepers’ Association Draws Controversy
By Jim Edwards January 19th, 2009
Bayer’s role (or lack thereof — the science jury is still out) in themass death of bees just keeps making news. The annual meeting of theBritish Beekeepers Association became contentious over a vote onwhether the BBKA should endorse certain pesticides. The BBKA executivepanel won the vote — in favor of endorsing pesticides — but by only a60/40 margin. As The Barefoot Beekeeper put it:
Despite their arrogant censorship, both on their web site and intheir newsletter, and full-bore propaganda from the current presidentand others, they have won a Pyrrhic victory: they are left with theknowledge that nearly half of their branches contain a majority ofmembers who disagree with their flagship policy.
The issue has been roiling beekepers in the UK ever since it emergedthat the BBKA is funded by Bayer. In this BBC video, beekeeper PhilipChandler, a dissenter, makes the case that the BBKA and Bayer ought tobe at arm’s length, not in bed with each other. He says:
In my opinion … they should not be endorsing pesticides or othertoxins under any conditions whatsoever.
There is something very wrongheaded about an organization thatclaims to be defending the interests of bees and beekeepers takingmoney from the manufacturers of pesticides. Having a dialog with themis one thing, but taking money from them is another.
The BBKS acknowledges that not all its membership agrees with thepolicy but that a clear majority do. Whether Bayer’s pesticides areresponsible for colony collapse disorder could be answered either by aGerman investigation or by a U.S. lawsuit against the EPA, both ofwhich seek to uncover information about what Bayer knew and when itknew it.
BNET’s previous coverage of Bayer and bee deaths:
* Bayer Faces PR Damage Over Mass Bee Deaths
=================================Warning Industry Propaganda Below=================================
January 19, 2009
Ottawa Citizen
EU pesticide ban threatens millions
By Richard Tren, Citizen Special
Last week, the European Parliament approved new regulations that mayeffectively ban a number of chemicals used in popular pesticides. Onceenacted, several products that help keep European produce free ofpests and disease will be taken off the market. This will exacerbatefood scarcities and disease, not just in Europe but in the developingworld as well.
Make no mistake: this is a victory for the environmental lobby and adefeat of sound science.
Sensible regulations should evaluate the risks posed by chemicals tohumans and the environment based on rigorous and sound scientificevidence. Regulators shouldn't be solely concerned with whether apesticide has proven hazardous in a lab setting. What matters most ishow the pesticide is actually used and how diluted the activeingredient is.
Many common foods actually contain some potentially hazardouschemicals. When you enjoy a cup of coffee you ingest many knowncarcinogens. Yet the mere presence of toxicity isn't what's important.As the 16th-century physician Paracelsus famously remarked, "It's thedose that makes the poison." In fact, cutting out every potentialcontaminant from your diet would turn you into a Howard Hughes-stylerecluse, subsisting solely on distilled water and homegrown, rawvegetables.
As they learn more about science and the world around us, the EUpolicy makers should be passing regulations that create greatercertainty and predictability. Unfortunately, with this move, they havepassed regulations that will increase uncertainty. For instance,substances could be banned if they are thought to be endocrinedisruptors, yet there is no agreed upon definition of what endocrinedisruption is.
The pesticide regulations are thus open to interpretation and bias.
Initial assessments of earlier versions of this legislation concludedthat up to 85 percent of chemicals under review could be banned. TheSwedish government now estimates that 23 chemicals will be de-listed.But uncertainty prevails, as no rigorous, EU-wide assessment of thelegislation has been undertaken.
Even a conservative implementation of the new rules would increase theprevalence of food-borne pests and cause the food supply to decrease.One British environmental consulting firm estimates it would cause adrop in overall EU food production of at least 25 per cent. This wouldraise food prices and put an enormous burden on low-income Europeans.
In the developing world, the measure would not only hurt foodproduction and trade with Europe, it would also harm the fight againstmalaria.
Though curable and preventable, malaria is currently responsible forroughly 500 million illnesses and one million deaths per year. InAfrica, a child dies every 30 seconds from the disease. Malaria istransmitted by mosquitoes. Some of the chemicals that the EU proposalwould ban are essential in the fight against the disease.
Making matters worse, mosquitoes can often develop resistance toinsecticides. Reducing the number of available chemicals would makeresistant mosquitoes a much bigger problem for those fighting thedisease.
Consider what happened with DDT, a highly effective insecticide bannedby the EU.
Many developing countries have stopped using DDT -- even though it isonly sprayed indoors and not on crops -- for fear that theiragricultural exports will not be allowed into Europe. These new rulescould have a similar effect, spurring struggling African nations tostop using effective anti-malaria insecticides in order to avoidlosing valuable European trading partners.
The legislation would also shrink the market for insecticides,increasing product prices.
The market for public-health insecticides is hardly thriving. Over thepast 20 years, the cost of developing pesticides has risen by 500 percent. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that it takes 10 years androughly $400 million to bring a new chemical to market. The EUlegislation would make companies less willing to invest in newinsecticides given the murkiness of the regulations and the high riskthat they'd eventually be banned.
These regulatory reforms pose such a substantial threat to thedeveloping world that more than 160 leading public health scientistshave signed a protest petition circulated by my organization, AfricaFighting Malaria.
The bottom line is these regulations will make the pesticidesnecessary to keep deadly diseases at bay less available and moreexpensive. And they'll put the lives of millions in poor countries indanger. Pesticide safety is a critical issue that necessitatesevidence-based scientific evaluation.
Before member states approve the legislation, officials must collecthard data on its likely effects at home and around the world.
Richard Tren is the director of Washington-based Africa FightingMalaria.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

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