The German Coalition against Bayer Dangers has brought a charge against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer Board of Management. The group accuses Bayer of marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby causing the mass death of bees all over the world.
The Coalition introduced the charge in cooperation with German beekeepers who lost thousands of hives after poisoning by the pesticide clothianidin in May this year.
Since 1991, Bayer has been producing the insecticide Imidacloprid, a best-selling product that is exported to more than 120 countries. When patent protection for Imidacloprid expired in most countries in 2003, Bayer brought the similarly functioning Clothianidin onto the market. Both substances can get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees.
The marketing of Imidacloprid and Clothianidin coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European and American countries. Up to 70 percent of all hives have been affected.
The German Coalition against Bayer Dangers suspects that Bayer submitted flawed studies to play down the risks of pesticide residues in treated plants -- a suspicion that was later confirmed by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency.