A global trade with double standards
The two German agrochemical companies are responsible for serious health problems among agricultural workers in South Africa and indigenous groups in Brazil.
The German agrochemical giants Bayer and BASF are among the four largest producers of active ingredients in the world. In a new international study, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, INKOTA-netzwerk and MISEREOR, together with the Brazilian network Campanha Permanente Contra os Agrotóxicos e Pela Vida and the South African organization Khanyisa, document how both corporations market a large number of active ingredients in South Africa and Brazil under their own brands, as well as in products from domestic manufacturers that are not approved in the EU. Bayer has at least seven active ingredients that are not approved in South Africa and BASF at least four. In Brazil, the two agrochemical companies each market at least 12 active ingredients that are not approved in the EU. Seven of the active ingredients on the market in both countries have been explicitly banned in the EU due to environmental and health risks. This is a perfidious business with double standards that must clearly be rejected from a human rights perspective.
The study examines cases in which the application of pesticides from Bayer and BASF led to severe poisoning and other illnesses among agricultural workers in South Africa and indigenous groups in Brazil. On citrus farms in South Africa, poisoning during spraying has resulted in workers being hospitalized. In Brazil, whole villages are acutely poisoned by the deploying of pesticides from airplanes, and a large number of pesticide ingredients are released into the groundwater. In the case of an indigenous community in Tey Jusu, a Brazilian court confirmed that inhabitants were poisoned from an airplane spraying a Bayer product.
Among other findings, the authors of the study come to the conclusion that the German government should ban the export of active ingredients that are not approved in the EU. The South African and Brazilian governments should in turn pass a law prohibiting the import of active ingredients and pesticide products that are not approved in the EU or other countries.