The transnational company Bayer AG from Germany distributes hazardous pesticides in India through its subsidiary Bayer CropScience AG. The company however fails to ensure that consumers are adequately informed of both the dangers of pesticides and the requisite protective measures. Through this failure, Bayer AG is endangering the health and lives of tens of thousands of people. This is set out in the monitoring report submitted to the World Health Organization in October 2015 by ECCHR together with partner organizations from Europe and Asia.
In October 2016, ECCHR filed a complaint against Bayer CropScience AG and Bayer AG in Germany before the Chamber of Agriculture in North Rhine-Westphalia. The reason: pesticide labels must contain warnings about health and environmental risks.
In Europe, Bayer sells Nativo with the warning that the product is “suspected of damaging the unborn child.” This warning is not given on the products sold in India by Bayer’s subsidiary Bayer CropScience Ltd. ECCHR submitted a complaint to the Chamber calling on it to examine Bayer AG’s business practices. The complaint to the chamber is supported by ECCHR partner organizations Kheti Virasat Mission in India as well as FIAN Deutschland, MIisereor and PAN Germany.
In February 2017, the chamber’s department of plant protection has responded that it is not obliged to further examine the complaint.
Upon ECCHR’s submission, the chamber launched an initial investigation into the export of Nativo and found that Bayer sends the pesticide to India in “big bags.” These do include a warning about the risks to unborn children, but the warning is absent from the products as sold in India. The chamber admitted that there was no monitoring of pesticides between 2014 and 2016, stating that they had no “indication that there were any nothworthy issues.” From October 2016, a national working group began working on a monitoring system.
In July 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture in New Delhi opened investigatory proceedings against Bayer subsidiary Bayer CropScience Ltd. (India) concerning the mislabeling and sale of Nativo in India. This follows a petition submitted to the ministry by the Indian civil movement Swadeshi Andolan in December 2015. ECCHR assisted with the petition by providing legal expertise.