Bayer Forced to Stop Advertising That Neonics Give Plants “A Daily Vitamin”
Despite the public ire growing against monolithic chemcial corporations like Bayer; the chemical and seed companies are merging to become an even bigger force of contention for consumers and the eco-system at large. Bayer and Monsanto recently “got married” and one thing the newly wedded couple can agree on is that the world’s bee population doesn’t matter. “Just plant more flowers” around the crops, they’ve been known to say when confronted about their chemical Molotovs.
Aside from constantly claiming that the pesticides are safe and EPA-approved, Bayer – still the world’s largest agrochemical company – has said some other whoppers, too. Wait, can you believe that? People are using these products in their yards thinking that the EPA approved them as safe.
Recently, Bayer conceded to an order by a Massachusetts court to stop with the misleading claims. One of them being that their neonicotinoid pesticides are like “giving ‘a daily vitamin’ to plants.”
Attorney General Maura Healey filed an Assurance of Discontinuance on Oct. 26 in Suffolk County Court to settle the dispute, which her office began investigating in September 2013. Bayer Cropscience promised to pay $75,000 and to stop its misleading advertising, for instance, that its neonicotinoid pesticide products are EPA-approved.
“Bayer made numerous misleading claims to consumers about the safety of its pesticide products, including falsely advertising that they were similar to giving ‘a daily vitamin’ to plants, when in fact, they are highly toxic to honey bees and other pollinators in the environment,” Healey said in a statement.
The attorney general called the settlement “an unprecedented step from a major pesticide manufacturer to promote truth in advertising for consumers about products that expose bees and the environment to harm and in turn also impact farming and food production.”
Healy claimed that Bayer deceptively advertised that its products were safe for the environment, particularly bees, and that gardeners should use as much  of the product as possible for preventative purposes and that the EPA approved of its ingredients.
Healy’s office also investigated Scotts Miracle-Gro, but dropped the investigation after Scotts decided to phase out neonicotinoids from its lawn and garden products this year.
The fact that Bayer has been caught telling consumers to “use as much of the product as possible” is noteworthy because when confronted about honeybee colony collapse disorder, the first line of defense from the chemical companies is to blame farmers for “using too much” or not following proper pesticide management techniques.
Which Bayer pesticides are in question?
The lawn and gardens named are Advanced All-in-One Rose and Flower Care, Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect and Feed II and Bayer Advanced Season Long Grub Control Plus Turf Revitalizer. They contain imidacloprid and/or clothianidin which are in the family of neonics.
Courthouse News adds that,
An EPA report this year found possible links between neonicotinoid pesticides and honeybee colony collapse disorder, which destroyed more than 10 million beehives from 2007 to 2012. One-fourth of the American diet depends on honeybee pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Worldwide, crops worth more than $200 billion a year depend on honeybee pollination, and colony collapse disorder has driven up farmers’ costs of renting pollinating hives by 20 percent or more.
Neonicotinoid exposure on land and water also has been associated with adverse effects on fish, amphibians, birds and bats.
Independent scientists and consumers have their arms crossed when it comes to bee-killing pesticides. Neonics are systemic – meaning that they are applied to seeds in the soil and become a part of the plant. We can’t wash them off, and they make their way into the pollen meaning that both humans and bees end up eating the pesticides. They have been shown to kill a bee within minutes of consuming just a tiny amount contained in a water drop – like they normally would if they landed on a crop plant.
The nature of a pesticide is to kill. The very etymological root of the word pesticide signals an unnatural death. Unfortunately, the same class of chemicals that are made to kill pestilence are undiscriminating when it comes to pollinators we need in order to eat on a daily basis.