"Bees Can't Bayer It" is the slogan for the campaign the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is waging against Bayer to draw attention to the crises Bayer is causing in our bee population. According to the NRDC over the past year 39 per cent of this country's honeybee colonies collapsed - one of the largest losses ever recorded. Science has proven the world's most widely used insecticides, called neonics, is a key factor in this die-off of bee colonies. There are barely enough bees available each year to pollinate key food crops. We depend on bees to polinate 70 out of 100 major food crops. This crises could soon cause reduced access to healthier foods and rising food costs.
While you make think of Bayer as the trusted maker of aspirin, it is also one of the world's leading manufacturers of bee-toxic neonics. The neonic chemicals it invented, imidacloprid and clothianidin, have made as much as $1.5 billion in annual sales. But Bayer, the German chemical giant, is facing difficulties in selling their chemicals close to home because the European Union has restricted the use of these chemicals. Bayer, however, is pressing forward to sell more and more of these bee-killing pesticides in the U.S. Neonics are now the most heavily used class of insecticides in the United States, applied to an estimated 150 million acres of crops each year.
There are indications the danger is spreading far beyond bees. The EPA has found that three of the most widely used neonics likely harm up to 80 percent of all threatened and endangered species and likely driving more than 200 vulnerable plant and animal species toward extinction. Meanwhile, as neonics turn up in our food and drinking water, there is increasing concern about how they may impact our health. Recent research shows that neonics pass effectively through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk to nursing newborns. Human health studies have found that children exposed to neonics in the womb are at increased risk for birth defects like malformations of the heart and brain, as well as increased risk of autism-like symptom.
Meanwhile Bayer is waging a PR blitz that appears to be sowing doubt about available science and diverting attention away from its bee-killing products. It wants you to believe bees are suffering from mites, disease, viruses, and loss of habitat - anything and everything but neonics - which Bayer claims are perfectly safe.
For more information: Natural Resources Defense Council https://www.nrdc.org/bio/daniel-raichel/take-action-protect-bees-during-national-pollinator-week