[fyeg_gen-l] Bayer donates money for UNEP Youth and Env programme

Natalie Debono ndebono at ba-malta.org
Fri Jul 30 12:51:08 CEST 2004

So what are you going to do about this ?
Where are you going to get info to counter Bayer ?

You already know they have a Bayer Youth Enviornmental Club in Asia...
What next ?

Well, the members of YEE-Youth Environment Europe will perhaps remember my
posting from 2 years ago, they can still look it up in the YEE-General
mailing list.

Herewith the message ... And some link that will give you info to counter
the Bayer Initiative....

Question for you remains:
What result to you want to resort: just a little personal victory ? Or do
you want to offer a serious alternative to the Bayer Youth Enviromental
What about the youngsters that are in there ? Do you want them to become
litlle cats driven into a corner or do you want them to come out of the
corner and switch ?

I leave that up to you.

In annex the mail and ... Arguments to put on the table when you meet those

Respectfully Yours,
 former YEE member-Youth Environment Europe,
 welcomes you to IUCN - The World Conservation Union,
 largest and Mother of all Environmental Organisations,
 founded in 1948 by UNESCO
 Currently, I'm a member of the IUCN Commission on Education and
 Communication (CEC)
 YEE=Youth organisation of IUCN
Louizalaan 223 b9, Ave. Louize
B-1050 Brussel(s)/Bruxelles
GSM: +32485/389.679
CHAT : ICQ UIN: 113835655 - YahooID: aertssven -
       AOL Instant Messenger Screen Name: aertssven1 -
       MSN Messenger Passport ID: sven_aerts at hotmail.com

For eco-techs & game for a better world, visit:
I hope this letter finds you well,
and I wish you a nice continuation of the day...

Message 220 of 393
From:  SVEN AERTS <aertssven at mac.com>
Date:  Sat Nov 2, 2002  4:28 pm
Subject:  UNEP-Youth Retreat Kenya / Is BAYER over the edge by sponsoring
UNEP ? Is UNEP naïve ?

Dear All,

 Wanna read/sea something sick ?

 At our Virtual Office for Regional Coordinator we received following

 From: kamontip attapumsuwan <kadib44 at yahoo.com>
 Subject: Re: [envoys] Youth Advisory Council

 "That's so great to hear from u YEE from Europe
 so if u need to know more about Young Environment from
 Thailand and Asia Pacific Please visit us at
 see ya

 Yeah, sure "see ya"...You just wait our YEE representatives at UNEP's Youth
 Retreat in Kenya end Januari,'Bayer-Buddy'!
 His link was dead, but he probably meant:


 Where we can happily read on a logo:

 "BAYER is the official partner of the United Nations Environment Programme
 for Youth Education in Asia Pacific."

 And he's member of the "Eco-Bayer-Youngster-club"...

 YEE Youngsters, don't let yourselves be intimidated by these kind of
 youngsters. Be proud of your independendness, perhaps you don't have a
 portable computer... But at least you are 100% honest.

 If ever you are faced with these type of things, this is how you can defend
 yourselves: go to Greenpeace (more or ore less our Adult Organisation)

 "Culprits of corporate crimes boast with "responsible care"
 Greenpeace demands global principals for corporate responsibility"

 You can download there a book in . PDF format overviewing all the
 eco-catastrophies all these big boys have been responsible for... Just type
 in Bayer... this is how innocent they are and what they still have to make
 up for: cf. PS 2

 Dear YEE reps. at the Global Youth Retreat... This message can be printed
 from anywhere and any time thanks to YEE's Virtual Office... Of course the
 link to this book is also posted in our YEE Virtual Office so you always
 know where to go.
 Have fun kicking their asses... Slap UNEP on their hands if you think you
 should, demand that money and speakers time goes to YEE.
 Leave a backdoor open to these youngsters, invite them to change
 let them take their computers with them...they were a gift from Bayer for
 ECO-activities, right ?

 And what do you think ? Can Bayer sponsor events like UNEP ?
 Not always so easy to answer ?
 If you need to repair your motorbike and a friend brings you a spare part
 ...which you know was stolen... Do you accept it or do you become a

 Anyway, let those brains work and let us know the outcome!
 Greetings from your personal trainer,

 ICQ: 113835655
 Have a nice day...

 PS 1 Thank you Greenpeace.

 PS 2

 Bayer Brazil
 Revenue in Brazil: USD 180 million in 2000

 Type of incident:
 Contamination of soil and water

 Type of damage:
 In January 2001, Greenpeace released a report accusing Bayer of
 contaminating the Sarapuà river with PCBs and heavy metals, such as lead
 and mercury. The chemicals were released as a result of the incineration of
 chemical pollutants in its Belford Roxo plant. The samples analysed
 solid wastes from the industrial landfill, industrial wastewater, and also
 sediments from the Sarapuà river, collected upstream and downstream of
 the facility. The analyses were performed by Greenpeace Research
 Laboratories, from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University
 of Exeter, UK.
 The effluent sample contained compounds such as halogenated
 benzenamine, benzene and benzamide. The sediment sample contained

 sediment sample from the industrial landfill was highly contaminated by
 heavy metals and contained a wide range of organic pollutants, such as
 PCBs, chlorinated benzenes and halogenated benzenamines. Another
 sample showed high levels of mercury4.
 Four years before, in 1997, FEEMA, the state environmental agency, had
 already detected mercury in sediment samples collected in the SarapuÃ
 river, downstream from the facility. This analysis showed that mercury was
 present at 30 micrograms per gram of sediment, compared to 22
 micrograms per gram detected by Greenpeace5.

 Legal and/or public action taken:
 On 22 January, 2001, Greenpeace carried out a direct action at Bayerâ(tm)s
 facility in Belford Roxo. The state Public Prosecutor opened a public
 investigation about the claims against the company6. In the second half of
 2001, he sent a delegation of technicians from the state environmental
 agency (FEEMA) to audit the Belford Roxo facility7. The results have yet to
 be released.

 Subsequent behaviour of company:
 In response to Greenpeaceâ(tm)s direct action, Bayer released a statement
 calling the accusations of contamination in the effluent unfounded and
 asserted that all their facilities in Brazil operate within “the current
 state and federal regulations†8. According to Bayer, the company carried
 out three series of effluent analysis in 2001 and 2002, after Greenpeace
 released the report. These analyses indicated contamination that was less
 than the legal limits for PCBs and heavy metals. They were carried out by
 Bayer's own laboratory and also by two independent laboratories, Tecma
 and Analytical Solutions. “As to PCBs, for example, the legislation
 upto 50 ppb in effluents and the test results showed only 0,1 ppbâ€. Bayer
 also stated that the lead levels detected were five times below legal
 limits. For mercury, the levels found were 11 times below legal limits9.
 company also questioned the methodology used by Greenpeace's laboratory10.
 It is important to note that Bayerâ(tm)s analyses were limited to effluents,
 disregarding sediment contamination. The contaminants that Greenpeace
 found in sediments are toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative. Thus they
 require further attention and must be linked to their source.
 Legal outcome The results of the analyses required by the Public Prosecutor
 have yet to be released.

 Final Greenpeace statement:
 Bayer could not explain the source of the contamination. The company
 denies damage to the environment and does not accept responsibility for
 clean up and compensation. The Bayer incinerator is still operating and
 burning wastes from other companies.
 Bayer AG (Peru)

 Location of damage:
 Remote Andean village of Tauccamarca in the province of Paucartambo (3
 hours from the historic town of Cusco).

 Company activity:
 Bayer is the principle importer and manufacturer of the insecticide
 methyl parathion, also known under its commercial name "Folidol“. Methyl
 parathion is classified as extremely hazardous (Class 1a) by the World
 Health Organisation (WHO). The pesticide was marketed specifically for use
 in Andean crops1.
 Failure category:
 The pesticide, a white powder, was packaged in small plastic bags
 without sufficient information about the danger of the product to human
 health and the environment. The given information was written in Spanish,
 which cannot be understood by the farmers who mostly speak Quechua. The
 carry drawings of healthy carrots and potatoes but no pictograms indicating
 danger or toxicity2.
 In October 1999, a white powdered milk substitute became accidentally
 contaminated with Folidol in the local school of Tauccamarca, Peru, which
 had been participating for years in the government's free milk program. The
 milk had probably been prepared in previously contaminated containers3.

 Type of damage:

 Range of damage,amount of loss:
 25 children (4 to 14 years old) died and 18 were severely poisoned after
 the above mentioned government donated communal breakfast.
 The survivors suffered health damage that possibly will last for the rest
 their lives as organophosphate compounds like methyl parathion heavily
 affect the nervous system.

 Who is responsible? Responsible parties include:
 1. Agrochemical companies who imported and sold the product in Peru did
 not take any steps to prevent the foreseeable misuse of this extremely
 2. Responsible authorities, mainly the Ministry of Agriculture for failing
 enforce the necessary regulations.

 Legal and/or public action taken:
 In 2001, the families of the poisoned children filed a lawsuit against
 Bayer on the grounds that the company had not taken any steps to prevent
 misuse of their product despite awareness of its extreme danger and of the
 socio-economic conditions in the Peruvian countryside4. The suit also
 named the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture for failure to enforce the
 pesticide regulations.

 Legal outcome:
 Current on-going case

 Final statement:
 The negligence that caused the death of these children is just the "tip
 of the iceberg“ and is primarily visible due to its tragic dimension.
 The intense use of agrotoxics causes damage worldwide and every day.
 Millions of tons circulate continuously around the planet and are supposed
 to be handled by well-trained users with medical care, phone and insurance
 at their disposal. In reality 80 percent of the workers using pesticides
 lack these facilities.
 Aventis SA (USA)
 Aventis Crop Science sales in 2000: € 4,034 mio27
 Aventis was created in December 1999, through the merger of Hoechst and
 Rhône-Poulenc. Only in April 2002 did the European Commission approve
 Bayer's EUR 7.25 billion (USD 6.38 billion) purchase of Aventis CropScience
 (ACS), on the condition that Bayer divest a number of businesses.28
 Company activity
 (products, plants)
 The core business of Aventis is the manufacturing and sale of
 pharmaceutical products. Besides the corporate headquarters in Strasbourg,
 France, other major sites are Bridgewater (New Jersey, USA), Paris
France), Frankfurt (Germany) and Tokyo (Japan).
 Aventis CropScience produces and markets herbicides, fungicides and
 insecticides as well as genetically engineered (GE) crops.
 No. 3 agrochemical company in 2000, No. 10 seed company in the world2930
 Type of incident Contamination of food chain with illegal GE maize.
 Type of damage On 18 September, 2000, a coalition of environmental
 announced that they had found an unapproved GE maize variety in a
 product sold in US supermarkets. The Kraft Foods Taco Bell brand taco
 shells they had analysed tested positive for GE maize variety
 developed by Aventis CropScience.
 This GE maize entered human food products in violation of its registered
 use: in the US, StarLink has not been approved for human consumption by
 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), because the Bt ( Bacillus
 Thuringiensis) Cry9C gene it contains could trigger allergic reactions in
 consumers31. The EPA only allowed StarLink to be grown and used in
 technical processes or in animal feed.
 The StarLink contamination illustrates the difficulty of keeping GE and
 conventional grains separate. The reasons include cross-pollination,
 contaminated machinery and commingling during processing.
 Besides the possibility that StarLink might cause allergies to humans,
 scientists and environmentalists have pointed out that engineering Bt into
 maize, cotton and other crops and releasing them into the environment
 could lead to insects developing a resistance to Bt, impacts on populations
 of non-target organisms and the creation of superweeds.
 The StarLink case created chaos in the US food and grain industry and hurt
 American farm exports.
 Range of damage,
 amount of loss
 A few days after the contamination was made public, tens of millions of
 Taco Bell taco shells were voluntarily recalled by their manufacturer,
 Foods. StarLink maize was subsequently discovered in Safeway and
 Western Family brands taco shells and Kelloggâ(tm)s Morningstar brand corn
 dogs, prompting more recalls from grocery stores. Altogether, 300 kinds of
 taco and tostada shells, tortillas and chips have been recalled from US
 grocery stores and restaurants because of StarLink contamination.
 Several companies temporarily halted milling operations after StarLink was
 found in their facilities. Kelloggâ(tm)s, for instance, was forced to shut
 production at one of its US cereal plants.
 Even though StarLink was grown on less than one percent of US maize
 fields, the harvested maize was mixed with vast quantities of other maize
 and millions of bushels were commingled into the food chain.
 The maize also turned up in Japan â€" the top foreign buyer of US maize -
 where this GE maize has no approval for use as food or animal feed. Costs
 of US maize exports to Japan increased due to the additional testing and
 handling costs. In 2001, Japanese imports of US maize fell by about 1.3
 million metric tons due to the StarLink issue32.
 The recall of StarLink GE maize cost companies all along the food chain â€"
 from grain elevators and food processors to grocery stores â€" hundreds of
 millions of US dollars as they attempted to find, retrieve and replace
 products that contained the maize33. Aventis estimated that it would spend
 from USD 100 million to USD one billion on the 25 cents-per-bushel
 feeâ(tm) to buy the StarLink crop back from farmers in 2000 and channel it
 non-food uses.
 Aventis has admitted it will take four years for StarLink to work its way
 through the US food supply, while some industry analysts believe it will
 many more years before every kernel of StarLink maize grown during three
 seasons is cleared from the US system.
 Who is responsible In order to get limited approval of its StarLink maize,
 Aventis was required
 by the EPA to act to ensure the maize did not get into the food supply.
 Aventis failed to do so.
 The company admitted that some of the 3,000 farmers who grew StarLink
 might not have been told about restrictions on the maize's use. Some grain
 elevators handling StarLink were apparently also unaware of the restriction
 of its use.
 It seems highly probable that this GE maize has also contaminated maize
 seed, maize food ingredients and maize products such as animal feed,
 which are exported from the US.
 Both Aventis and the US authorities failed to ensure that the GE maize â€"
 only approved for technical processes and animal feed â€" did not
 contaminate food products.
 Legal and/or public
 action taken
 Consumers claiming allergic reactions to the maize filed lawsuits against
 major food companies.
 Commodities companies such as Cargill and ADM said they were going to
 be holding Aventis responsible and send it bills for their StarLink-related
 Farmers in some states â€" backed by State legal officials â€" have brought
 claims against Aventis after their maize lost value because of concerns

 behaviour of
 company and US
 Initially, Aventis attempted to deny the problem and to debate claims that
 StarLink had contaminated Taco Bell taco shells.
 When US government test lab results confirmed the contamination of the
 taco shells, Aventis fought back. In a bid to win approval for StarLink
 biotech maize as a safe ingredient for human food, the company submitted
 what it claimed was new scientific data to US regulators, maintaining that
 StarLink maize was no different from other types of GE varieties that had
 been approved for human food. Aventis also asked American regulators to
 grant a four-year grace period of “tolerance†to allow the existing
 commingled maize to work its way through the food chain.
 US regulators ruled out any immediate, temporary approval to allow
 StarLink in human food. The EPA appointed a panel of scientists to review
 the data submitted by Aventis and the US food and biotech industry. In
 December 2000, unimpressed with Aventisâ(tm) â˜new dataâ(tm), the EPA
 Advisory Panel refused to recommend that EPA grant the companyâ(tm)s
 request. The scientists found that the Cry9C protein in StarLink poses a
 “medium likelihood†of being an allergen.
 Food producers also unsuccessfully lobbied the US Food and Drug
 Administration (FDA), which shares responsibility for gene-spliced foods,
 declare StarLink an "unavoidable contaminant" in the human food supply
 because it has apparently been mixed with so much other maize.34
 Aventis announced that it was halting sales of StarLink maize hybrids for
 200135, but it is unclear how Aventis handled farmers who had already
 ordered or had 2001 contracts that involved StarLink seed. In March 2001,
 the USDA said that StarLink contamination had been detected in non-
 StarLink seed intended for sale in 2001.
 US maize and maize products are traded globally and shipped to countries
 in Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe. The majority of countries
 receiving or importing US maize had â€" and still have â€" no means or
 to test for the presence of StarLink contamination in US shipments. The US
 did not take any measures to ensure its maize exports were free of StarLink
 contamination. Such a system was only set up for very few countries, such
 as Japan. On 27 October, 2000, the US government lifted restrictions on
 the export of StarLink maize. In a notice to US exporters, the USDA, the
 FDA and the EPA said StarLink could be exported as long as it was specified
 to be used for feed and industrial uses only.
 Aventis agreed to stop growing StarLink maize in the US in the future by
 cancelling its EPA registration for the maize. Despite the buy-back and the
 recall of food products in the United States, Aventis said it still had big
 plans to develop StarLink in other maize-growing countries36.
 Legal outcome In March 2002, a federal judge said he would approve a USD 9
 settlement of a class- action lawsuit filed by consumers against several
 major food companies that sold products containing StarLink maize. The
 lawsuit also includes Aventis and Garst Seed, which sold seed contaminated
 with StarLink maize. A settlement in this class-action lawsuit has Aventis
 apparently paying the full amount of USD 9 million. Aventis said that while
 it denies any liability for the claims made in the suit, it believes the
 settlement is the best possible way to move forward37.
 Further legal wrangling is expected over responsibility for unauthorised
 of StarLink maize. Government officials said Aventis failed to make sure
 that the maize was grown with buffers that would prevent cross-pollination
 and other restrictions that were conditions of StarLinkâ(tm)s approval.
 officials insisted that seed companies licensed to incorporate the maize
 their own products were responsible for notifying farmers about the
 Itâ(tm)s not clear how costs will be divided between Aventis, the seed
 companies who licensed the StarLink technology and insurers for everybody
 In October 2001, Aventis announced plans to divest its CropScience Division
 and to sell it to Bayer. The deal was approved by the European Commission
 in April 2002.38
 Final Greenpeace
 Companies, farmers and consumers outside the USA have not been
 compensated. It is impossible now for non-OECD countries (e.g. in Africa or
 Asia) to make Aventis liable for any harm caused by the StarLink maize.

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