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Posted 16 may 08

Federal Agency in Germany suspends immediately seed treatments suspected of causing causing bee die off

(Below a quick and translation of the order to suspend the approvals)

The German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety

Director of the Press Office:
Press Office • Mauerstraße 39-42 • 10117 Berlin Jochen Heimberg (ViSdP)
Phone: 030 18444-00200 • Fax: 030 18444 00209

BVL orders the suspension of the approval for seed treatment products

The Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety yesterday, May 15th 2008, due to the fact that recent calculations within the approval procedure have provided new insights, ordered the suspension of of the approval with immediate enforcement pursuant to Section 80 Paragraph 2, sentence 1 No. 4 VwGO for the following seed treatment products:

-- Antarc, BVL registration number 4674-00
-- Chinook, BVL registration number 4672-00
-- Cruiser 350 FS, BVL registration number 4914-00
-- Cruiser OSR, BVL registration number 4922-00
-- Elado, BVL registration number 5849-00
-- Faibel, BVL registration number 4704-00
-- Mesurol liquid, BVL registration number 3599-00
-- Poncho, BVL registration number 5272-00

This decision was made after a thorough examination of the current facts in light of the damage to honey bees in the south-western regions of Germany. For the BVL it was necessary to examine whether a relationship exists between the reported poisoning of bees and the planting of seeds treated with plant protection products.

This examination revealed, that the distribution of insecticide-treated seed with pneumatic drilling equipment constructed in a certain way resulted in a higher exposure of bees, then the approval process originally assumed.

New risk assessments, initiated because of the damage to bees and which take this increased exposure into account, make it appear likely, that it can not be ruled out, that the impact of this exposure will lead to unacceptable effects on bees. In this context, the safety of the user in the seeding process will be reviewed as well.

Because of these new findings, in order to avoid further damage to the bees and to definitively clarify the relationship and possible further impact on the environment we order for precautionary reasons until further notice a suspension of registration.

Also the regional agencies responsible for advising on the use of plant protection products have been informed immediately to inform the users accordingly.

Background information on the suspension of authorisation

With the suspension of the licences no imports, no marketing and no continued application of the plant protection products is permitted.

The same applies to Section 16e para 2 PflSchG also for plant protection products for which a transport certificate with reference to any of the above approvals was granted.

Release date: 16.05.2008


Pesticide Blamed for German Bee Deaths


Thousands of German bee-keepers are readying claims for compensation after scientists traced the cause of mass deaths among bees: a pesticide that coated maize seed.

Vast numbers of the insects were killed in the Rhine valley area of Germany's Baden-Wuerttemberg state by the chemical clothianidin, the Julius Kuehn Institute in the northern city of Braunschweig said.

The loss of swarms has worsened a long-term collapse in bee populations in many parts of the world that is blamed on the varroa mite infesting hives.

The research institute said late Friday 29 out of 30 samples of dead bees it had checked had been killed by contact with the pesticide, which is harmless to humans but lethal to fruit flies and the corn rootworm (scientific name Diabrotica virgifera).

Farmers in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg used massive amounts of the pesticide this year in an effort to counter pests. The institute said it may have blown onto wild plants, fruit trees and rapeseed crops as it was sprayed.

The Baden Apiarists' Association, with 7,100 members, said Saturday it would study a compensation claim against farmers or the pesticide makers and would meet Monday with the state agriculture minister, Peter Hauk.

"The beekeepers have come to a point where they have to deal with securing their existence," said Ekkehard Huelsmann, chairman of the Apiarists' Association.


Julius Kuhn Institute in Berlin Confirms that Pesticide Clothianidin is responsible for Bee-Deaths in Baden-Wuerttemberg and the South of Germany

16.05.2008   URL of this press release:

Dr. Gerlinde Nightingale, Press release

A meeting took place today at the Julius Khun Institute between the ‘authorising authority’ BVL (The Federal Authority for Consumer Protection & Food Safety ) and the Julius Kuhn Institute (JKI: Institute for Ecological Chemistry, Botanical Analysis and Food Protection) to determine the cause of extreme bee-losses. According to experts, the analysis is ongoing, in order to prevent future incidents. It is suspected that sowing of pesticide-coated seeds may not have been carried out with the necessary precautions and poisoning subsequently occurred. Farmers buy their seeds from seed-companies, ready-coated with pesticides, but each company uses different binding-agents for the pesticide-coatings. Any increased-abrasion during planting may lead to pesticides being rubbed-off the seeds and released onto the wind. Suspicion has fallen on the pneumatic seed drilling machines used, which – through seed-abrasion, may have freed the pesticide-dust to be spread by prevailing winds; this would explain why neighbouring flowering plants such as dandelion, rape or fruit trees were contaminated far more than normally with Clothianidin.

According to laboratory work carried out at the Julius Kuhn Institute, the pesticide Clothianidin has been confirmed as the cause of the widespread death of bees in Baden-Wurttemberg.

Brunswick ( 5 May 2008 )

From the recent evaluation by the Julius Khun Institute it has been confirmed that poisoning of bees occurred due to the planting of seeds treated with Chloanthinidin. With only one exception, for all of the thirty samples of pollen and dead bees taken from the respective sites, the JKI confirmed evidence of a ‘contact-poisoning effect’ by Clothinidin.

The first eleven chemical-analyses for Clothianidin confirmed, in every case, a direct relationship between the poisoned bees and the seed-treatment which had been used.

Further laboratory work is still needed to clarify whether other chemicals or seed-treatment components are also involved. Clothianidin has been used for many years to protect plants from insect pests such as wireworm and ‘fruit flies’ but until recently it was only used on a small acreage of maize.

The situation is different in the areas of Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria, where last year – the ‘maize-root-borer’ pest became prevalent and a quarantine directive (200/29/EG) was imposed to try and confine maize-root-borer to these areas. This year an ‘infestation and security-zone’ was established in the areas affected by maize-root-borer. In this infected area, all of the maize plantings were carried out with seeds treated with a much higher level of Cloanthinidin than normal.

The insecticide Clothianidin is very soluble in water. It is still unclear if honey has been contaminated with the pesticide. At present initial investigations are being carried out in Baden-Wuerttemberg. The current samples of bees and plants received by the JKI originate exclusively from the Rhineland area of Baden-Wurttemberg and some from the Passeau region in Bavaria. Presently there are no indications of similar pesticide damage in the other federal states.

The Federal Authority for Consumer Protection & Food Safety (BVL), in its capacity of ‘authorising agency’ has, as of 15th May 2008, decreed that the permission for seed-treatment for maize and oilseed rape using Clothianidin be suspended until further notice, due to further potential for damaging effects on the natural environment and as a precautionary measure.

Background information to the investigation of bee poisonings at the JKI: (Institute for Ecological Chemistry, Botanical Analysis and supply protection).

The investigative laboratory for bee-poisonings at the Julius Kuhn Institute (formerly Federal Institute for Biology) examines bee-samples, when it is suspected that deaths may have resulted from inappropriate use of pesticides. The dead bees and plant material are sent from the beekeepers direct to Brunswick. The investigations are carried out in two stages: the biological tests and statistical analyses are carried out in Brunswick, while the detailed chemical investigation using mass-spectrometry is carried out by specialists in Berlin at the JKI (Institute for Ecological Chemistry, Botanical Analysis and Food Protection).



Coalition against BAYER Dangers (Germany)

Press Release, May 21, 2008

Mass death of bees in Germany: Pesticide approvals suspended

“Bayer must withdraw Gaucho and Poncho from the market worldwide”

The German Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has ordered the immediate suspension of the approval for eight seed treatment products due to the mass death of bees in Germany's Baden-Wuerttemberg state. The suspended products are: Antarc (ingredient: imidacloprid; produced by Bayer), Chinook (imidacloprid; Bayer), Cruiser (thiamethoxam; Syngenta), Elado (clothianidin; Bayer), Faibel (imidacloprid; Bayer), Mesurol (methiocarb; Bayer) and Poncho (clothianidin; Bayer). According to the German Research Centre for Cultivated Plants 29 out of 30 samples of dead bees it had examined had been killed by contact with clothianidin. Also wild bees and other insects are suffering from a significant loss of population.

“We have been pointing on the risks of neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid and clothianidin for almost ten years now. With an annual turn-over of nearly 800 million Euro (1.25 billion US dollar) imidacloprid and clothianidin are among Bayer´s most important products. This is the reason why Bayer, despite serious environmental damage, is fighting against any application prohibitions”, says Philipp Mimkes, speaker of the Coalition against BAYER-dangers. The Coalition demands that Bayer withdraw all neonicotinoids from the market worldwide.

Bayer is the worldmarket leader for pesticides. With sales of 556 million Euro in 2007, imidacloprid is Bayer´s best selling pesticide product. In Germany imidacloprid is used under the brand names Gaucho, Antarc and Chinook, primarily during the cultivation of rape, sugar-beet and corn.

“It's a real bee emergency”, said Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeeper's Association. “Fifty to 60 percent of the bees have died on average, and some beekeepers have lost all their hives.” Beekeepers and agricultural officials in Italy, France and Holland all noticed similar phenomena in their fields when planting began a few weeks ago.

In France most applications of imidacloprid were already banned in 1999. In 2003 the Comité Scientifique et Technique, convened by the French government, declared that the treatment of seeds with imidacloprid produces a significant risk for bees. Only a few months ago Bayer´s application for clothianidin was rejected by French authorities.

Clothianidin is a non-selective poison. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's fact sheet 'clothianidin is highly toxic to honey bees.' Seeds are treated with clothianidin in advance or sprayed with it while in the field, and the insecticide can also be blown onto other crops. The chemical is often sprayed on corn fields during the spring planting to create a protective film on cornfields.

See also:

Tel: (+49) 211-333 911 Fax: (+49) 211-333 940 please send an e-mail for receiving the English newsletter Keycode BAYER free of charge

Advisory Board
Prof. Juergen Junginger, designer, Krefeld,
Prof. Dr. Juergen Rochlitz, chemist, former member of the Bundestag, Burgwald
Wolfram Esche, attorney, Cologne
Dr. Sigrid Müller, pharmacologist, Bremen
Eva Bulling-Schroeter, member of the Bundestag, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Anton Schneider, biologist, Neubeuern
Dorothee Sölle, theologian, Hamburg (died 2003)
Dr. Janis Schmelzer, historian, Berlin
Dr. Erika Abczynski, pediatrician, Dormagen


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