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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'."