Friday, October 28, 2016

Bayer paying Mass. $75,000 fine for deceptions about pesticides' risk to bees and environment

Bee Informed graphic
Bayer CropScience will pay the state of Massachusetts a $75,000 fine for failing to properly advertise the hazards of pesticides to bees and the environment, under an agreement between the company and the state, Gabriel Dunsmith reports for Greenwire. State Attorney General Maura Healey said it is the first time a major chemical manufacturer "has submitted to a court order regarding false advertising related to bees and other pollinators." Bayer will be forced to change its advertising in Massachusetts.

Healey, said Bayer "misled and deceived consumers" with "numerous misleading claims ... 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 honeybees and other pollinators in the environment."

Neonicotinoid-based pesticides have been partly blamed on declining bee populations, along with varroa mites, disease and poor nutrition and food supply. Bees are responsible for more than $15 billion in increased U.S. crop value each year. Honeybees lost 28 percent of colonies last winter, up from 22 percent the year before.

Bayer spokesman Jeff Donald said the company denies any wrongdoing and agreed to the settlement "to avoid the time and cost associated with litigation," Martha Kessler reports for Bloomberg News. He said "The firm’s crop science division believes the advertising related to the products involving neonicotinoid chemistry was 'at all times accurate and transparent'."

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