Two mighty mega corps, Bayer and Monsanto, are set to merge. What do they have in common? Chemicals. To be precise, chemicals in agriculture. Bayer produces, amongst other things, neonicitinoids. Widely used in farming, they are implicated in the alarming decline in bee numbers. If the rate of decline continues, there’s a danger bees will become extinct.
The EU enacted a moratorium on the use of neonics, and France banned them for good. Now Bayer is lobbying hard to introduce a new type of pesticide into the EU called flupyradifurone, which is closely related to neonics and just as harmful. Studies show that the mortality rate of bees ingesting this chemical is 50 percent, and it’s also dangerous to butterflies, birds, frogs, and insects — and potentially humans. Flupyradifurone’s effects are systemic, meaning it’s absorbed by every tissue in the plant and can persist in the environment for years after it’s applied.
Monsanto has been producing GM seeds for two decades, alongside its flagship Roundup Ready. RR is routinely sprayed on GM crops, killing weeds but not the crop. Glyphosate, the main component of RR, was thought to be relatively harmless to the environment, but so much glypho saturates so much of our soil that this opinion has changed.
The merger of Bayer and Monsanto is a dangerous threat to agricultural diversity and the food we eat. The companies will dominate the seed and agricultural chemical markets and promote even more chemical use. This is in addition to other issues like the use of growth hormones in farm animals. We need fewer, not more, chemicals in our food. Buyer beware.