Blog Archives

The Trouble with GM


The Trouble with GM

Author, researcher, blogger and academic, Dr Oliver Moore, considers the GM debate as Teagasc announces plans to trial GM potatoes in Ireland

Fruit In recent decades, it has become possible to significantly alter the genetic make up of crops. While there has always been slow, selective breeding regimes involving changes in plants, more recently, it has become possible to horizontally transfer genes – that’s transfer genes across the species barrier.

Many people worry about the long term implications of doing this genetic modification (GM): worries have been expressed that horizontal transfer of genes may have unknown, unintended consequences that may cause future problems for food production and for nature more generally.

Europe rejects GM

In fact, European citizens have, it seems, rejected the use of this technology in food production. “There is still a lack of acceptance for this technology in many parts of Europe – [by] the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians.” That’s according to someone with a vested interest in saying the exact opposite: the head of the plant science division of an agri-food giant BASF. Stefan Marcinowski made this rather candid statement while announcing that BASF were moving their entire plant science wing out of Europe because of this “lack of acceptance.”

GM ProtestsThe lack of consumer acceptance is fairly clear. According to a special EU Commission (Euboromoter) report from October 2010, “The key findings of this survey are that Europeans…: do not see benefits of genetically modified food, consider genetically modified foods to be probably unsafe or even harmful and are not in favour of development of genetically modified food”.

Another agri-food company, Monsanto, have also retracted their GM operations in France, where they announced that they would not sell the GM crop they developed there. In any case, they would have found it difficult to, again because of the lack of farmer, politician and consumer acceptance.

In terms of GM crop cultivation, Europe differs from many other parts of the world, most notably the Americas, North and South, and also the ‘far east’ (south east Asia and China). These are the regions where most GM crops are grown globally. Within Europe, only two crops (maize/wheat MON 810, and the potato Amflora) have been approved to be grown. The latter was approved in 2010, the former 12 years previously.

GM MaizeHardly any Amflora potatoes have been grown since approval: in 2010, 118 hectares were grown, and in 2011 just 18 hectares hectares were. Of this, 16 hectares were grown in Sweden and 2 in Germany. Indeed, an error by BASF in their trials in Sweden, whereby an illegal, or unapproved (Amadea) and legal/approved (Amflora) GM potato crop cross-contaminated each other meant that the 16 hectares were destroyed. The Maize/wheat, MON810, has been more popular as a crop in Europe: just over 114,000 hectares were grown in 2011. The majority of this was in Spain – over 97,000 hectares, with far smaller amounts grown in 5 other European countries. However this is about 0.1% of the arable land of Europe, which totals about 110,000 million hectares. In fact globally, 90% of arable land is not under GM cultivation. The size of this is important to take into account for a couple of reasons. GM proponents often paint a picture of the inevitability of GM, of the fact that it is everywhere and unstoppable – a bell that has already been rang as it were.

Irish authorities consider GM

On the other hand, in both Ireland and the UK, non commercial GM trials are either beginning (UK, wheat) or proposed (potatoes, Ireland). Non commercial, in this context, means not run by or for specific companies. In the Irish situation, the Department of Agriculture’s research wing, Teagasc, have made the application.

Very few European countries grow GM crops: just nine in total grew any last year: 7 grew maize/wheat and 2 potatoes. This move by Teagasc, were it to be successful, would mean Ireland would lose its ‘GM-Virginity’: GM crops have never been grown successfully outdoors in Ireland. Campaigners opposed to the use of GM in food have expressed concerns over the risk of outdoor trials, as it involves “releasing a plant (by its very nature capable of reproducing itself and therefore ‘uncontrollable’ in nature) into a field.”

Teagasc, for their part, cite the need to develop late season blight resistance in potatoes and the “fact of life in the crop sector that there is increasing resistance to conventional fungicides”, whereas the organic sector and others have pointed to the recent development of potato varieties that are already resistant to blight, and to the threat to Ireland’s clean green farming and food image the development of GM foods could present. A decision will be made by the on the Teagasc application by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in May.

Organic food rules do not allow GM

Surprisingly, a higher percentage of European land is under organic cultivation than under GM crop cultivation: 4% vs 0.1% respectively.

If you buy organic food, you buy into a system that disallows GM as a core ingredient or even as a feed component. Irish conventional meat and milk – that’s the standard meat and milk available in the shops – is exceptionally grass fed, when compared to what’s produced in most other countries. Winter feed for livestock in Ireland usually has some GM crops in it. So GM crops, such as soya, are part of the feed livestock (cattle, sheep, pigs chickens) consumes in Ireland – unless the livestock is certified organic.

Is GM damaging the environment, food production and human health?

Is there enough evidence about GM crops to say whether they are damaging to the environment? According to a recent FAO report: “The scienti%uFB01c evidence concerning the environmental and health impacts of GMOs is still emerging, but so far there is no conclusive information on the de%uFB01nitive negative impacts of GMOs on health or the environment”. Reports also link GM to increases in yield and various other increased efficiencies in production (e.g. Nath 2008 in the journal Nature 458: 40).

And yet, Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food for the UN since 2008, favours a moratorium, or freeze, on trials of GM crops, as well as broader more socio-economically appropriate policies to alleviate poverty, such as the refocusing of public agricultural expenditure towards the poor.

“GM maize can fly to native maize areas and…contamination is difficult to avoid. It might or might not lead to the gradual disappearance of native varieties” he said in reference to GM crop growing in Mexico. De Schutter, like many others, is concerned about the functioning of GM in combination with already existing problems with poverty, social exclusion, corporate power and weak regulations.

GM Soya and sustainability

SoyaThe aforementioned Soya presents an interesting case. Uptake of GM Soya has been far stronger globally than for most other crops: 65.8% of global Soya crops were GM in 2008. A 2010 report on GM Soya, authored by 9 senior scientists, including experts in biosciences, molecular embryology and ecology, concluded that “The weight of evidence from scientific studies, documented reports, and on-farm monitoring shows that both GM RR (Roundup Ready) soy and the glyphosate herbicide it is engineered to tolerate are destructive to agricultural systems, farm communities, ecosystems, and animal and human health. The conclusion is that GM RR soy cannot be termed sustainable or responsible.”

The prevalence of GM Soya has led, the report’s authors claim, to: the emergence of superweeds; increased herbicide use; land abandonment; lower yields; higher costs; reduced nutrient uptake; increased pests and diseases and increased use of fossil fuels in the production of such Soy crops. (Superweeds emerge when the resistance genetically added to a crop moves over to the weed). GM Soya is a part of much animal feed, even in Ireland: If you want to avoid buying into the production of GM Soya, choosing organic food is a sensible option.

As a society, we end up asking ourselves about priorities: do we forge ahead with possible magic bullet solutions like GM, or do we engage in the hard slog of fundamentally changing and improving the production, distribution and consumption of food? And if the magic bullets don’t work, or have unintended side-effects, where will the collateral damage be?

Pesticides against pollinators


Private letters reveal Syngenta and Bayer’s furious lobbying against EU measures to save bees

The crisis of dramatic bee population decline has been a top issue in media and political debate in Europe. A wide variety of culprits are under scrutiny, including certain parasites, viruses, pesticides and industrial agriculture. But new scientific evidence from British and French research institutions, published in Science in early 2012, suggests that neonicotinoids pesticides in particular might be one of the main drivers. Syngenta and Bayer, two companies producing these substances, are waging an all-out lobbying war against the proposed partial ban of these substances by the European Commission following EFSA’s (European Food Safetey Authority) opinion warning of the risk they pose to bees. Will the pesticide lobby succeed in convincing Member States to vote no to a ban?

syngenta_bee

New scientific evidence triggers EU concern

Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that came onto the market in the mid 1990s and early 2000s. Many crops such as corn, soy, wheat or rapeseed are now treated with them. They are normally applied directly to seeds or in soil treatments, in an attempt to preserve seeds and plants from insect attacks at an early stage. As systemic pesticides, once in the seed, they enter the whole plant through its vascular system and are found in every plant tissue (leaves, flowers, pollen…); but they can also remain active in the soil for a long time (up to three years). Particularly controversial among the neonicotinoids are Thiametoxam, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, substances patented by biotech and pesticide companies Syngenta and Bayer.

The French scientific study reported the loss of honeybee foragers caused by exposure to low doses of Thiamethoxam (Syngenta). The British study reported that low doses of Imidacloprid (Bayer) affected the colonies of bumblebees, reducing their development and their reproduction, including a dramatic loss of queens. Authors stated that, “given the scale of use of neonicotinoids, we suggest that they may be having a considerable negative impact on wild bumble bee populations across the developed world.”

In March 2012 the European Commission mandated the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to deliver a scientific opinion on a report that led Italy to temporarily suspend the placing on the market of maize seeds treated with neonicotinoids. In April 2012 the Commission broadened its request to include the new scientific evidence published in Science. In addition to Italy, Slovenia and Germany had already applied protective measures, including temporary suspensions or bans in certain uses of neonicotinoids.

A furious lobbying campaign

In June 2012, the French Government announced its intention to withdraw the registration of Thiamethoxam. The pesticides industry immediately started putting pressure on the Commission. This was the beginning of a furious lobbying campaign; a series of letters sent by Syngenta, Bayer and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA, the pesticides producers’ lobby whose members include Bayer, Monsanto, BASF, Dow, and DuPont / Syngenta) to the European Commission and EFSA, seen by CEO, have enabled us to reconstruct its story. Here are the main arguments used by these two companies:

  • It’s farmers’ fault. Bayer, in a letter addressed to Commissioner Dalli, claims that past incidents of pesticide poisoning that affected honey bees were the result of inappropriate use and/or lack of precaution in applying the substance, thus they offload responsibility onto farmers rather than the product itself.
  • Just a small group of activists and hobby beekeepers. Syngenta made the accusation that some Member States, “driven by a small group of activists and hobby beekeepers” are lobbying to suspend, “their insecticide and all other neonicotinoids. And they urged the Commissioner to “resist this pressure” for the sake of the credibility of the EU’s regulatory process.
  • Me and my friend Obama. Syngenta’s CEO, Michael Mack, personally wrote to Commissioner Dalli to remind him that just two weeks before he had lunched at the G-8 summit with US President Obama, President of the European Council Van Rompuy, President of the European Commission Barroso and France’s President Hollande, discussing the contribution of the private sector to global food security and the money Syngenta was committed to spend in Africa.
  • Keep calm, and use neonicotinoids. In another letter sent in November to Commissioners Ciolos (Agriculture) and Geoghegan-Quinn (Research) in November, and to all EU Agriculture Ministers, Syngenta called for a comprehensive review, that they insisted was necessary to avoid “wrong conclusions from a rushed process that could have disastrous implications for agriculture and ironically for bee health”. This, added to the fact that it was only three neonicotinoids (including Syngenta’s Thiamethoxam) being singled out, was “desperately disappointing” for Syngenta.
  • “Independent” analysis show that Europe can’t survive without neonicotinoids. According to Syngenta, who didn’t provide any references to back up the claim, “the loss of this technology will cost farmers and consumers up to €1 billion and undermine the production of safe and affordable food”. In a letter they sent in November they stated that according to “independent analysis” there would be significant damage to European agriculture if their product was banned (more than €17 bn over the next five years) as well as the risk of relocation of corn production. In addition, ECPA claims potential yield losses of up to 10% in oilseed rape and cereals, 30% in sugarbeet and 50% in maize as a result of a potential ban.Another study promoted by industry was research carried by the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture, that concluded that neonicotinoid pesticides make a significant socio-econonomic and environmental contribution to European agriculture and the wider economy. The support and partners of this Institute include BASF, Bayer CropScience, E.ON, KWS and Nestlé. The study was supported by Copa-Cogeca (the big farmers’ lobby group in Brussels), the European Seeds Association (mainly representing the largest companies in the seed industry) and the European Crop Protection Association, and financed by Bayer and Syngenta. This, however, was not mentioned in Syngenta and Bayer’s letters.
  • ‘Science’ is on my side. For decades, industry’s strategy has been to advocate for a science-based policy. But which science exactly? This particular lobbying campaign provides helpful insights into the sort of science industry favours, and the sort it doesn’t.Firstly, a comment can be made about the role of EFSA. Industry usually pushes for decisions to be made by scientists and experts rather than politicians, the latter having to justify themselves in front of voters; it was therefore not a surprise to read the pesticides lobby ECPA write to the Commission that “as an industry, we welcome the fact that EFSA is carrying out a detailed evaluation on the use of these seed treatments”. In the meantime, they lobbied the European Commission with scientific studies backing their commercial interests: Bayer explained to the Commission that neonicotinoids were not responsible for bee decline as other experts maintained that pathogens and parasites were the main problem. Meanwhile, Syngenta questioned the conditions in which the studies with critical findings were performed, claiming that the exposure in these studies significantly exceeded any real situation found in the field. According to them, France was taking decisions in the absence of “any validated science”. The company also delivered to the Commission a costly GLP (Good Laboratory Practice)-compliant study on bees exposed to corn treated with thiamethoxam it had sent to the private analysis lab Eurofins. This study concluded that “no effect in terms of mortality, honeybee activity and brood development and behaviour of the honeybees” could be observed1.

    However, EFSA’s opinion,published on 16th January, was not the one the companies had hoped for: it was very critical of the use of these pesticides, although the agency was not able to finalise the assessments in some cases due to shortcomings in the available data (remember: EFSA usually doesn’t do any research and merely assesses others’ work). EFSA and its scientific experts found risks to bees associated with neonicotinoids pesticide exposures from pollen and nectar contaminated with pesticide, from pesticide dust, and from exposure from guttation (plants exudating drops of sap on the tips or edges of their leaves).

    Bayer immediately counter-attacked: they commissioned another analysis of EFSA’s conclusion by “an independent panel of bee scientists”: in fact, the company Exponent®, which specialises in defending products from regulation. Exponent® came to the conclusion that “EFSA risk assessments use unrealistic exposure values, make inappropriate comparisons to toxicity threshold levels, fail to consider critical bee behaviour, and inappropriately discount monitoring and field studies”, and therefore “overstates the risks to honey bees”. Exponent®’s modus operandi is reanalysis of scientific studies detrimental to industry to cast doubt on their conclusions in order to prevent their use for regulatory purposes, but their production, tailored for litigation, has been described as “more legal pleadings than scientific papers”.2

  • You don’t like my science? You will hear from my lawyers. Syngenta had access to EFSA’s press release before its publication. They immediately sent an extremely aggressive letter to the agency, claiming that the press release was “incorrect in a major and highly relevant aspect but EFSA also moves out of its area of responsibility and mandate”. Syngenta even threatened to take legal action and set a deadline: “we ask you to formally confirm that you will rectify the press release by 11 o’clock. Otherwise you will appreciate that we will consider our legal options.”Syngenta’s anger increased when the press release was published without major changes. In several letters to EFSA they insisted that the press release is “inaccurate and contrary to the EFSA conclusion”. And the company requested access to documents such as all the draft versions of the press release, internal correspondence and the preparatory meeting notes that led to the draft.

    After analysing the documents provided by EFSA, they then targeted EFSA’s Director, accusing her of not including Syngenta’s comments on the draft press release in harsh terms: “you took the personal responsibility to overrule the internal EFSA proposal to rectify the incorrect press release”. Therefore, “Syngenta would appreciate further explanations from you” before “deciding on the legal options available to it and the identity of specific defendants in any possible court action”.

    Syngenta wanted to find culprits, and therefore requested more documents, including handwritten notes of internal EFSA meetings as well as all the correspondence regarding their attempts to change the draft press release.

  • Mr. Politician, please help me against these ignorant scientists. Threatening EFSA having proved ineffective, Syngenta and Bayer are now putting maximum pressure on the Commission and Member States, and publicly blaming EFSA. Syngenta for instance counterattacked that “EFSA has limited practical knowledge of agriculture” and that if this sort of risk assessment was repeated “it would be impossible to maintain the registration of any existing insecticides or to register any new ones”. According to Syngenta, the methodology used by EFSA to conduct the review was “questionable because it was based on a highly theoretical and extremely conservative scientific opinion”.Beyond direct pressures to politicians, Syngenta launched a fierce campaign in various national media to avoid Members States approving the proposal, claiming for example in the UK media that EFSA had been “nobbled”. The pesticides association ECPA has also been really active, promoting the Humboldt Institute study in the European and national media and scaremongering the public with the prospect of disaster should the proposal be approved.
  • I’ll solve the problem myself, no need to regulate. The two companies have launched a charm offensiveto be seen as part of the solution rather than of the problem, and for this are launching an upgrade of Syngenta’s PR sting “Operation Pollinator”. This consists in paying a few farmers so that they grow flowers and other plants beneficial to bees on their farms. But how many farms exactly? No figures have been provided.

The battle for Member States’ vote

The battleground is now at the European Member State level. On 15th March, at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, the European Commission put to the vote a proposal that would restrict for two years the use of Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiametoxam to crops not attractive to bees and to winter cereals, starting 1st of July (meaning this year’s crops would not be affected). It would also prohibit the sale and use of these pesticides to “amateurs”. This proposal was limited and criticised by farmers group and beekeepers for not being ambitious enough, but still failed to reach a qualified majority. It was supported only by 13 member states (Slovenia, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Denmark, Cyprus, Belgium, Italy, Latvia and Malta), while nine countries (Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, Ireland and Greece) rejected the proposal. The UK, Germany, Finland, Bulgaria and Estonia abstained.

The proposal will be retabled by Commissioner Borg at the Appeal Committee in the coming weeks, with a vote likely to occur probably on the 26th of April or the 2nd of May. If Member States again fail to reach a qualified majority supporting the proposal, the Commission would have the power to approve it. Meanwhile, the pesticides industry is lobbying Member States hard to try to reach a qualified majority to reject the proposal outright and thus block the ban. The coming weeks’ battle will be crucial: will industry interests prevail against bees’ survival?

  • 1.Thiamethoxam – Monitoring of Potential Effects of the Drilling of Thiamethoxam FS Treated Maize Seeds on Honeybees, Guttation Monitoring of Maize Seedlings under Agronomic Use Conditions and Assessment of the Relevance of Guttation for Honeybees in Alsace (France) – Final Report. 15 November 2012, Eurofins Agroscience Services EcoChem GmbH.
  • 2.See “Doubt is their product”, D. Michaels, Oxford University Press, 2008, p.46.

Shell Environmental Crimes in Brazil


Screen-Shot-2012-04-28-at-16.28.57

We were recently contacted by an association representing former workers at a Shell/Basf Chemicals factory in Brazil.

Screen-Shot-2012-04-28-at-17.09.18

 

The factory was built in 1977 by Shell. Dozens of former employees of the plant have been diagnosed with prostate, thyroid and other types of cancer, circulatory, liver and intestinal illnesses, as well as infertility and sexual impotence.

 

In August 2010, the two companies were ordered to pay a total of 490 million euros in fines and damages for the workers exposure to toxic substances. The defendant companies have appealed to successively higher courts, initially trying to get the verdict overturned and after that failed, are seeking to have the awarded sum reduced.  This process is dragging on with no end in sight. The plaintiffs claim that the defendants have influence in high places.

 

The workers cannot afford to travel to the Shell AGM to make their case and would like to know if any sympathetic, articulate Shell shareholder of high principle, would kindly offer to raise the matter on their behalf.  One person in particular comes to mind as a candidate.

 

We have now received a PowerPoint presentation for which a non-professional translation of several pages has been kindly provided:

Screen-Shot-2012-04-28-at-17.20.41

Screen-Shot-2012-04-28-at-17.06.35

Screen-Shot-2012-04-28-at-17.11.46

Screen-Shot-2012-04-28-at-16.28.57

Shell Environmental Crimes in Brazil | Royal Dutch Shell plc .com.

via Shell Environmental Crimes in Brazil | Royal Dutch Shell plc .com.

Can you Trust big Business? A look at Bayer AG


Overview

Bayer AG is a massive German based chemicals and pharmaceuticals manufacturer. It has operations in most countries worldwide and had global sales for 2000 of nearly $30 billion.[1] Its operations are divided into four sectors: Health, Agriculture, Polymers (plastics, synthetic rubber) and Chemicals. It has recently acquired Aventis’ controversial cropscience business, making it a key player in the development, commercialisation and sale of GM crops. As a major player in 4 controversial sectors for over 125 years Bayer has a distinguished history of corporate crimes ranging from the manufacture and sale of controversial drugs (Heroin, Ciproxin and Baycol), the development of chemical warfare agents and poisons (Chlorine Gas, Zyklon B and VX), the use of forced labour during WW2, and numerous cases of poisoning, side-effects and environmental pollution connected to its chemical and pharmaceutical products. In December 2001, Multinational Monitor rated Bayer AG as one of their Top Ten Worst Companies of the year.

1.3. History [6]

For over 125 years Bayer has been a major player in 4 of the most controversial business areas that capitalism has so far produced. They have a long and particularly nasty history of corporate crime (see also Corporate Crime section below internal link).

The first incarnation of what is currently Bayer AG was born out of the rush by European industrialists to develop and manufacture synthetic dyes in the second half of the 19th century. Friedrich Bayer and Johann Friedrich Weskott opened a dye factory in 1863 in Wuppertal, Germany. The company Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co. was launched in 1883. Bayer quickly diversified their activities into other areas of chemical manufacture, including photography and pharmaceuticals. Bayer also established operations throughout Europe and the US. Early Bayer discoveries included Antinonin (synthetic pesticide, 1892), Aspirin (1897), Heroin (1898) and Buna (synthetic rubber 1915). During WWI Bayer, along with other chemical manufacturers (both Allied and German), turned their attention to the manufacture of chemical weapons [7] including chlorine gas used to horrendous effect in the trenches.

During WWI Bayer had formed a close association with other German chemical companies including BASF and Hoechst. This relationship was formalised in 1925 with merger of these companies as well as AGFA, and others, to form the IG Farben Trust.[8]

IG Farben continued to grow during the inter-war period as one of the most powerful chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the world. Products included polyurethanes and the first ‘sulpha’ drugs.

It is during Nazi-era Germany and WW2 that IG Farben (Bayer) entered its most sinister phase. IG Farben as the leading chemical company in Nazi Germany took over chemical plants across Nazi occupied Europe, used slave-labour in their factories (including operating their own concentration camp), conducted medical experiments on those held in the concentration camps and manufactured the poison gas used to kill thousands. At the end of the war the 1945 Potsdam Agreement called for the break up of IG Farben into its constituent companies. Twelve IG Farben employees and directors were jailed for war crimes at the Nuremburg Trials.

Bayer was re-established as Farbenfabriken Bayer AG in 1951, changing its name to the current Bayer AG in 1972. Although the post-WW2 Bayer is a different legal entity to the Bayer that pre-existed IG Farben, and that which formed part of IG Farben, a direct line of continuity can be traced between the personnel, infrastructure and technology of these 3 incarnations. Bayer has a very murky past that should be remembered.

For Bayer’s rose-tinted, and very selective, version of its own history have a look at their Bayer Tapestry http://www.bayer.co.uk/tapestry/

Controversies from Wikipedia

Aspirin discoverer

It has been documented that aspirin compounds were successfully synthesized by various other scientists or groups between 1848–1869, long before Bayer’s claims. This fact led to various patent litigations in the early 20th century.[14]

Arthur Eichengrün, a Bayer chemist, claimed to be the first to discover an aspirin formulation which did not have the unpleasant side effects of nausea and gastric pain. Eichengrün also claimed he invented the name aspirin and was the first person to use the new formulation to test its safety and efficacy. Bayer contends aspirin was discovered by Felix Hoffman to alleviate the sufferings of his father, who had arthritis. Various sources support the conflicting claims.[15][16][17]

[edit]Nazi chairman

In 1956 Fritz ter Meer became chairman of Bayer’s supervisory board. He was convicted at the Nuremberg trials for his part in carrying out experiments on human subjects at Auschwitz. He was found “guilty of count two, plunder and spoliation, and count three, slavery and mass murder” and sentenced to seven years imprisonment and served five years.[18]

HIV infected blood products

Main article: Contaminated haemophilia blood products

A cite from http://www.haemophilia-litigation.com/, access date 31 May 2006:

“After 1978, there were four major companies in the United States engaged in the manufacture, production and sale of Factor VIII and IX: Armour Pharmaceutical Company, Bayer Corporation and its Cutter Biological division, Baxter Healthcare and its Hyland Pharmaceutical division and Alpha Therapeutic Corporation, which have been or are defendants in certain lawsuits.

The plaintiffs allege that the companies manufactured and sold blood factor products as beneficial “medicines” that were, in fact of likely to be contaminated with HIV and/or HCV. This resulted in the mass infection and/or deaths of thousands of haemophiliacs worldwide.[19]

It is believed that three of these companies, Alpha, Baxter, and Cutter, recruited and paid donors from high risk populations, including prisoners (i.e. prison-based collections), intravenous drug users, and plasma centers with predominantly homosexual donors, esp. in cities with large populations thereof, to obtain blood plasma used for the production of Factor VIII and IX. Plaintiffs allege that these companies failed to exclude donors, as mandated by federal law, with a history of viral hepatitis. Such testing could have substantially reduced the likelihood of plasma containing HIV and/ or HCV entering plasma pools.”[20]

Baycol

After 52 deaths were blamed on an alleged side effect of Bayer’s anticholesterol drug Baycol, its manufacture and sale were discontinued in 2001. The side effect was rhabdomyolysis, causing renal failure, which occurred with a tenfold greater frequency in patients treated with Baycol in comparison to those prescribed alternate medications of the statin class.[21]

Medicaid reimbursement

In January 2001, Bayer agreed to pay $14 million to the United States and 45 states to settle allegations under the federal False Claims Act that the company caused physicians and other health care providers to submit fraudulently inflated reimbursement claims to Medicaid.[22]

Methyl parathion poisoning case

In October 2001, Bayer was taken to court after 24 children in the remote Andean village of Tauccamarca, Peru were killed and 18 severely poisoned when they drank a powdered milk substitute contaminated with the insecticide methyl parathion. A Peruvian Congressional Subcommittee found significant evidence of criminal responsibility by Bayer and the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture.[23]

Liberty Link rice

In August 2006, it became apparent that the United States rice crop had been contaminated with unapproved genetically engineered Bayer CropScience rice.[24]

More specifically, the genetically engineered rice has an herbicide-resistance trait. These forms of rice are commonly referred to among US rice growers as, Liberty Link rice 601 or LL 601. Approximately 100 varieties of rice are produced primarily in the following six states: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and California.

2006 Trasylol safety advisory

In September 2006, Bayer was faulted by the FDA for not revealing during testimony the existence of a commissioned retrospective study of 67,000 patients, 30,000 of whom received Trasylol and the rest other antifibrinolytics. The study concluded Trasylol carried greater risks. The FDA was alerted to the study by one of the researchers involved. Although the FDA issued a statement of concern, they did not change their recommendation that the drug may benefit certain patients. In a Public Health Advisory Update dated 3 October 2006, the FDA recommended “physicians consider limiting Trasylol use to those situations in which the clinical benefit of reduced blood loss is necessary to medical management and outweighs the potential risks” and carefully monitor patients.[25] The FDA took Trasylol off the market on 5 November 2007.[26]

Prostate cancer claims

In October 2009, the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued Bayer for “falsely claiming that the selenium in Men’s One-A-Day multivitamins might reduce the risk of prostate cancer.”[27]

Neonicotinoid pesticides

In December 2010, a leaked memo from the EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division asserted “Clothianidin’s (Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticide) major risk concern is to non-target insects (that is, honey bees). Exposure through contaminated pollen and nectar and potential toxic effects therefore remain an uncertainty for pollinators.”[28][29][30] In January 2011, Avaaz.org launched an online petition to ban neonicotinoid pesticides.[31]

Imidacloprid

Main article: Imidacloprid effects on bee population

French and Nova Scotian beekeepers claim Bayer’s seed treatment imidacloprid kills honeybees. France has since issued a provisional ban on the use of imidacloprid for corn seed treatment pending further action. A consortium of U.S. beekeepers filed a civil suit against Bayer CropScience for alleged losses.

Chemical accidents

On 28 August 2008, an explosion occurred at the Bayer CropScience facility at Institute, West Virginia. A runaway reaction ruptured a tank and the resulting explosion killed two employees. The ruptured tank was close to a methyl isocyanate tank which was undamaged by the explosion.[32]

via Bayer AG : Overview.

via Bayer AG : Overview.

MovieBabble

The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

OLD HOLLYWOOD IN COLOR

...because it was never black & white

LEANNE COLE

Art and Practice

CURNBLOG

Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.

FilmBunker

Saving you from one cinematic disaster at a time.

From 1 Blogger 2 Another

Sharing Great Blog Posts

Wonders in the Dark

Cinema, music, opera, books, television, theater

Just Reviews

Just another WordPress.com site

Mark David Welsh

Feeding Soda Pop to the Thirsty Pigs since 2013

conradbrunstrom

Things I never thunk before.

News from the San Diego Becks

The life and times of Erik, Veronica and Thomas

The Silent Film Quarterly

The Only Magazine Dedicated To Silent Cinema

Leaden Circles

First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air.

My Archives

because the internet is not forever

CineSocialUK

Up to the minute, fair, balanced, informed film reviews.

PUZZLED PAGAN PRESENTS

A Shrine to Pop Culture Obsessiveness. With Lots of Spoilers

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” – Peter DeVries

thedullwoodexperiment

Viewing movies in a different light

Twenty Four Frames

Notes on Film by John Greco

Suzanne's Mom's Blog

Arts, Nature, Good Works, Luna & Stella Lockets & Birthstones

It Doesn't Have To Be Right...

... it just has to sound plausible

NJ Corporate Portrait Photographer Blog

The life of a corporate portrait photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

arwenaragornstar

A French girl's musings...

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)

Australian movie blog - like Margaret and David, just a little younger

Octopus Films

A place for new perspectives on films, TV, media and entertainment.

scifist 2.0

A sci-fi movie history in reviews

The Reviewer's Corner

The Sometimes Serious Corner of the Internet for Anime, Manga, and Comic related things

First Impressions

Notes on Films and Culture

1,001 Movies Reviewed Before You Die

Where I Review One of the 1,001 Movies You Should Watch Before you Die Every Day

Movies Galore of Milwaukee

Movie Galore takes a look at Silent films on up to current in development projects and gives their own opinion on what really does happen in film!

The Catwing Has Landed

A Writer's Blog About Life and Random Things

Gabriel Diego Valdez

Movies and how they change you.

The Horror Incorporated Project

Lurking among the corpses are the body snatchers....plotting their next venture into the graveyard....the blood in your veins will run cold, your spine tingle, as you look into the terror of death in tonight's feature....come along with me into the chamber of horrors, for an excursion through.... Horror Incorporated!

Relatos desde mi ventana

Sentimientos, emociones y reflexiones

Teri again

Finding Me; A site about my life before and after a divorce

unveiled rhythms

Life In Verses

Gareth Roberts

Unorthodox Marketing & Strategy

leeg schrift

Taalarmen

100 Films in a Year

12 months. 100 films. Hopefully.

%d bloggers like this: