Take Glufosinate off the Market immediately!
Coalition against Bayer Dangers
Press Release, January 19 2009
Bayer's herbicide among 22 most dangerous substances / Coalition also demands ban on glufosinate-resistant plants
The Coalition against Bayer Dangers demands an immediate ban on the herbicide glufosinate and a suspension of all approvals of glufosinate-resistant crops. European Parliament members voted last week to ban pesticides classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. Permits for 22 substances, among them glufosinate, will not be renewed.
Philipp Mimkes from the Coalition against Bayer Dangers: "Pesticides such as glufosinate that have been proven hazardous for operators, consumers and the environment must be removed from the market straight away. The EU ban on glufosinate must also have consequences for the approval of GM crops: no more permissions for glufosinate-resistant plants must be granted in the European Union!"
Bayer CropScience, based in Germany, sells glufosinate under the trademarks Basta and Liberty. The substance is one of the best-selling herbicides in the world, with sales in 2007 of â‚¬ 241 million. Bayer is currently expanding glufosinate production capacity in Germany.
A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluation states that glufosinate poses a high risk to mammals. The substance is classified as reprotoxic, with laboratory experiments causing premature birth, intra-uterine death and abortions in rats. Japanese studies show that the substance can also hamper the development and activity of the human brain. The new EU regulation declares a ban on all CRM (carcinogenic, reprotoxic and mutagenic) pesticides from categories I and II. Glufosinate is classified as falling in reprotoxic category II. Already in 2006 Swedish authorities demanded an EU-wide ban.
In the U.S. and Latin America the ingredient is widely used as a "super herbicide" for genetically modified crops, mainly on rapeseed, maize, soy bean, cotton, rice and sugar beet. Bayer requested EU approval for several glufosinate-resistant plants, among them a genetically altered rice (LL Rice 62). In 2006 a similar rice (LL Rice 601) that was never approved was found in food supplies across the world and led to the largest GM contamination scandal so far.
The Coalition against Bayer Dangers also demands that BAYER publishes all studies on pesticides and chemicals. Jan Pehrke from the Coalition said: "Industry must not be allowed to hide unwelcome information. Full public access to health and environmental data about substances that are released into the environment and used on our food is necessary.”
For more information:
Letter to EU Ministers (2006): Act now for a ban of Bayer´s glufosinate
Reject Bayer's application to import genetically modified rice into the EU
Coalition against BAYER Dangers
Tel: (+49) 211-333 911 Fax: (+49) 211-333 940
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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
Dr. Janis Schmelzer, historian, Berlin
Dr. Erika Abczynski, pediatrician, Dormagen
Bayer's Liberty Link crops are one of the two main types of GM herbicide resistant crops. Liberty is a trade name for Bayer's glufosinate herbiicede. As the press release notes, "European Parliament members voted last week to ban pesticides classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. Permits for 22 substances, among them glufosinate, will not be renewed."