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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'BASF' Category


04
Feb

Maui Decision Not to Defend GE Moratorium Disappoints Activists

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2015)    In the face of a challenge from the chemical industry, Hawaii’s Maui County will not defend a moratorium on genetically engineered (GE) farming that was passed by county voters last fall. Seeking to have the moratorium thrown out, industry giants Monsanto, Dow-owned Agrigenetics and others sued Maui days after the measure was passed.   It was expected that the county would defend the law in the courts, but to the disappointment of many, attorneys for Maui County filed a single sentence brief with the court, stating that it “is taking no position.” In November 2014, Maui residents passed a ballot initiative prohibiting the growth, testing or cultivation of GE crops in Maui County until an environmental and public health study can show that the planting operations are safe for the community. Now residents and local groups supporting the new law are expressing outrage and disappointment over the decision by Maui County to disregard its duty to defend a law passed by its citizens, despite earlier assurances that county will implement the moratorium. Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said that the outrage from activists groups is misplaced. In December, the court allowed the local group, […]

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15
Jan

Member EU States Authorized to Plant GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2015) Yesterday, the European Union (EU) passed legislation meant to bridge a long-standing divide amongst EU nations (and the United States) on the planting of genetically-engineered (GE) crops by granting individual countries the authority to opt-out of EU crop approval and institute country-based legislative and regulatory restrictions. Makers of GE crops (like Monsanto) and proponents of GE crop cultivation have faced staunch and successful opposition in getting the required EU permission to plant GE crops. Opposition comes from both EU citizens and certain member states, like France, Italy, and Germany. By giving opposing countries an EU-sanctioned means to opt-out and establish individual member state restrictions, the new law may accelerate  opt-outs in those countries that do not oppose GE crop planting. Countries like France that have repeatedly fought back against GE crop cultivation welcome the new EU legislation, as do environmental advocates. “This is another nail in the coffin of genetically modified crops,” said Mute Schimpf, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, told Bloomberg. “While not perfect, this new law allows governments to shut the door on biotech crops in Europe.” Countries in favor of GE crop cultivation, like Britain, also view the action […]

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07
Nov

Groups Tell Canadian Regulators to Reject Bee-Killing Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2014) Environmental organizations are calling on the Canadian government to  reject the approval of yet another bee-killing pesticide called flupyradifurone. According to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) —responsible for regulating pesticides in Canada— the new pesticide exhibits systemic behavior and “may pose a risk to bees, non-target beneficial arthropods, and freshwater and saltwater invertebrates when used for foliar application.” Additionally, the pesticide “may pose a risk to birds and small wild mammals when used for soybean seed treatment.”  Environmentalists say approval of  flupyradifurone would be irresponsible of PMRA because it would allow yet another chemical with a high potential hazard to bee health into the environment. Environmental groups, including Sierra Club Canada Foundation, David Suzuki Foundation, Pollination Canada, National Farmers Union, Friends of the Earth, and Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, have been vocal in expressing their concern about flupyradifurone: “Health Canada has admitted the use of neonicotinoid pesticides threatens bees and other pollinators and has promised a review, but meanwhile wants to open the door to its chemical cousin. Is the government taking the threat of systemic pesticides seriously?” said Lisa Gue, a researcher and analyst at David Suzuki Foundation. Karen […]

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27
Aug

Federal Court Blocks Local Pesticide and GE Law in Kauai

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2014) Rulng that Hawaii state law preempts local authority to restrict pesticides,  a federal court judge this week struck down Kauai County’s Ordinance 960. The ordinance, which  received widespread support on the Island, was designed to protect local residents and Kauai’s environment from the year-round spraying of large quantities of restricted use pesticides by multinational chemical companies. U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren on Monday ruled that Kauai County Ordinance 960 is preempted by state law and therefore is unenforceable. Ordinance 960 provides residents of Kauai public access to information related to the application of pesticides used in experimental and commercial agricultural operations within the County of Kauai. It also affords County residents and the environment greater protection from, and information about, potential pesticide drift and the impact of experimental genetically engineered (GE) crops on Kauai. The Kauai County Council voted to enact Ordinance 960 in November 2013, overriding the Mayor’s veto. The ordinance was scheduled to go into effect Aug. 16, but had been postponed to Oct. 1 pending the court’s ruling. Local leaders crafted the ordinance in response to public outcry from residents, many of whom live, work, or have children that go to school […]

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20
May

Pesticide Manufacturers Sued over Golf Course Superintendent’s Death

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2014) Pittsburgh sportscaster Rich Walsh is suing multinational chemical companies after his father’s untimely death from cancer in 2009. According to a story from local Pittsburgh station WTAE, Mr. Walsh’s father, Tom Walsh, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2008, after a career as a golf course superintendent. “He loved golf. He loved working outside. He loved to take care of golf courses,” Rich told WTAE. Rich’s lawsuit was filed against Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Syngenta, Dow Agroscience, Deere and Company, and John Deere Landscapes in 2010. Genetic testing from Tom’s oncologist showed chromosomal alterations as a result of years of working with pesticides, the only chemicals Mr. Walsh ever worked with. Part of the log books he kept throughout his career included the pesticides he applied, which included the insecticides Dylox and Dursban, active ingredients trichlorfon and chlorpyrifos respectively, and the fungicides Daconil and Chipco, active ingredients chlorothalonil and iprodione. All of these chemicals have been shown to be likely carcinogens, according to Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide Gateway or Pesticide Induced Diseases Database. Chlorpyrifos, for instance, was banned for homeowner use back in  2001, but uses on agriculture and golf courses were allowed to continue […]

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16
Apr

Public Interest Groups Intervene to Defend Kauai’s GE Law

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2014) The U.S. District Court of Hawaii granted a Motion to Intervene jointly presented by Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice on behalf of several community non-profit groups. The order allows the groups to participate in a lawsuit filed by Syngenta and other pesticide companies challenging Kauai’s County Ordinance 960, which  establishes a  county program to monitor pesticide use and genetically engineered (GE) crops. The federal order allows the groups to defend the County of Kauai’s 2013 pesticide disclosure law against the pesticide companies’ legal challenge. The non-profit groups intervening include Center for Food Safety, Surfrider Foundation, Pesticide Action Network North America, and Ka Makani Ho”˜opono. Ordinance 960 (formerly known as Bill 2491) provides residents of Kauai public access to information related to the application of pesticides used in experimental and commercial agricultural operations within the County of Kauai. It also affords County residents and their environment greater protection from and information about potential pesticide drift and the impact of growing experimental GE crops on Kauai. The Kauai County Council voted to enact Ordinance 960 in November 2013, overriding the Mayor’s veto. The Ordinance 960 is set to take effect in August. Local leaders crafted […]

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07
Apr

With Big Money, Industry Fights County Ordinance to Ban GE Crop Planting

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2014) A recent report by The Oregonian found that enormous amounts of money are being spent by agrichemical and biotechnology companies in  one Oregon  county to stop an ordinance that would ban farmers from being able to plant genetically engineered (GE) Crops. This current legislative fight encapsulates the uphill funding battle that anti-GE activists face when organizing state and local level campaigns. The ordinance that will appear on the upcoming May ballot in Jackson County, Oregon will ban the planting and rising of GE plants within the county. The ordinance also calls for the county to conduct inspections and allows enforcement through citizen lawsuits. Jackson County was the only county exempt from a law enacted last fall that made the state the regulator of agricultural seeds. The county’s measure qualified for the May ballot before the Oregon Senate passed S.B. 863, which preempts localities ability to regulate seed, so it was exempted in the bill. The bill preempts efforts the efforts in Benton and Lane counties to restrict GE agriculture. Despite state preemption, Josephine County has a similar measure on the May ballot to ban GE crops. According to a recent report in The Oregonian, the […]

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03
Dec

Start of EU Moratorium on Neonicotinoids Puts Focus on US EPA Inaction

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2013) On Sunday, December 1, 2013 the European Union (EU) took critical steps to protect pollinators from the hazards associated with the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Despite attempts by agrichemical corporations, including Bayer, and Syngenta,   to delay or reverse the decision, the two-year, continent-wide ban on bee-harming pesticides has gone into effect. However, what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic is part of a larger story that raises serious concerns for the future of our food. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the direction of Administrator Gina McCarthy, has put forth inadequate label changes that do not protect pollinators. With the support of   over 60 organizations, Beyond Pesticides has helped launch a coalition-based  national advertising campaign to raise awareness of pollinator declines and urge EPA to stop stalling by enacting substantive restrictions on the use of bee-harming pesticides. Go to save-bees.org to lend your support to these efforts. Neonicotinoids, a relatively new class of pesticides, are often used as a seed coating on agricultural crops. Studies have found that honey bees are exposed to high concentrations of neonicotioid pesticides through the dust that is kicked up when coated […]

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12
Nov

BASF Sues EU Commission for Restricting Pesticides Harmful to Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2013) On November 6 BASF, a German agrochemical company, took legal action in the General Court of the European Union (EU) to challenge the EU Commission’s decision to restrict seed treatment uses of the insecticide fipronil. BASF joins chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta in challenging the EU’s decision to restrict the use of certain pesticides that are harmful to pollinators. The EU Commission’s decision to restrict the use of fipronil in July came after the Commission’s landmark decision announcing a two-year continent-wide ban  on the neonicotinoid pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. The pesticides have been linked to the decline in bee populations.  Twenty-three European Union Member States supported the fipronil restriction, two Member States voted against, and three Member States abstained during the standing committee vote. BASF argued that its  legal action against the EU is based on a disproportionate application of the precautionary principle. However, overwhelming scientific evidence supports the position that fipronil is highly toxic to bees. Fipronil, a phenyl pyrazole broad-spectrum insecticide, was first introduced in the U.S. in 1996 for commercial turf and indoor pest control and is highly toxic to bees. A recent investigation reveals that fipronil is responsible for the […]

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17
Oct

Community Concerns Lead to Landmark Pesticide Protections in Kauai County

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2013) Early yesterday morning, the Kauai County (Hawaii) Council ended a grueling 19-hour session by approving new protections from pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) crops in a 6 to 1 vote on Bill 2491. After enduring years of pesticide abuse from agrichemical giants Syngenta, Dow, DuPont Pioneer, and BASF, the residents of Kauai will finally receive simple protections they and future generations on the “Garden Isle” deserve. The legislation is a major victory for the local community, which engaged in numerous non-violent rallies and demonstrations urging the council to “Pass the Bill!” Local leaders crafted Bill 2491 in response to public outcry from residents, many of whom live, work, or have children that go to school near agricultural fields leased by chemical corporations. “The people in my community have asked for help,” said Kauai County Councilmember Gary Hooser. “People are concerned.” Many in the community assert that the passage of Bill 2491 is only the beginning of local efforts to reign in excesses and abuses of agrichemical companies operating on the island. While some of the more stringent measures in the bill were removed at a previous Committee meeting earlier this month, other aspects of the […]

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01
Oct

Kauai County, Hawaii Pesticide and GE Measure Passes Council Committee

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2013) Kauai’s Committee on Environmental Development, Agriculture, and Sustainability approved a bill that requires large agricultural companies in the county to disclose the pesticides they  use. The legislation will now go to the full council for a vote. The measure, County Bill 2491, which Beyond Pesticides supported with testimony, would provide transparency and restrict the operations of DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, BASF and Kauai Coffee, on the island. In a 4-1 vote, the majority of Kauai’s council members demonstrated support for the need to improve pesticide regulations to protect the  community health and the local ecosystem. The bill, introduced by Kauai County Councilmen Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum, provides long overdue protections from chemical exposure occurring on the island, requiring a 500-foot buffer zone near schools, hospitals, residential areas, public roadways and sensitive ecological sites, such as streams, rivers and shorelines. Under the bill’s language, (i) the testing of experimental pesticides are restricted only to greenhouses and other contained structures, (ii) all pesticide applications and GE crops  are to  be subject to mandatory disclosure to the county, and (iii) the use of any pesticides by these corporations will require prior notification through the public posting […]

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15
Jul

Giant Corps Have Set Up Shop in Hawaii, and They’re Wrecking the Place

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2013) They’re wrecking the place; the chemicals they produce are  polluting groundwater  and  poisoning schoolchildren. In the absence of federal and state action, local communities are rising up to confront these agrichemical giants. As a testament to the power of local change, two Hawaiian counties, Kauai and the “Big Island” of Hawaii, have introduced legislation to restrict these practices.  Monsanto, Dow, BASF, DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta are using the Hawaiian Islands as their private testing grounds for experimental pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) crops, but they don’t want residents to know where these fields are and what chemicals they are spraying on them; they don’t think they have that right. Federal and state governments have, in effect, sanctioned these practices and provided cover for these corporations to spray tons of restricted use pesticides  across the islands (18 tons annually— and that’s just on the island of Kauai). Kauai County Councilmen Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum recently introduced County Bill 2491, which would provide long overdue protections from some of the most egregious chemical intrusions occurring on the island. Commercial pesticide applications from these giant corporations would require a 500 ft buffer zone near schools, hospitals, residential […]

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28
Jan

Common Agricultural Pesticides Threatens Frog Populations

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2013) Research published Thursday indicates that pesticides widely used on farms are highly toxic to frogs. Researcher Carsten Brühl, Ph.D., at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany called the results “alarming” with the potential for “large-scale effects” on amphibians. Two chemicals commonly used in orchards and on grains demonstrated a 100% mortality rate when researchers applied doses recommended on the label, raising serious concerns about the strength of pesticide regulations. The research builds on Brühl’s previous work on the ability of frogs to absorb pesticides through their porous skin, which is necessary for breathing underwater. More importantly, the study highlights the threats that pesticides post to biodiversity. Amphibians are considered the most threatened and rapidly declining vertebrate group, with more than a third of all amphibians listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) “Red List” of threatened species. The organization lists loss of habitat, climate change, and disease as the most serious threats to amphibian populations. The scientific community is increasingly recognizing the role of chemical pollutants in amphibian decline. Though sadly, regulatory agencies do not: pesticides are not even required to be tested on amphibians before the pesticide is […]

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02
Nov

Prop 37: Your Right to Know

(Beyond Pesticides, November 2, 2012) Despite the onslaught of advertisements saying otherwise, on November 6th California voters will be asked a simple yes or no question: Do you have a right to know if the food you purchase contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients? Industrial chemical corporations and conventional food manufacturers think your answer to this simple question could dent their profits, possibly damage their image. So they’re attempting to make it as confusing as possible for citizens to understand the issue. The “No on 37” campaign has flooded California’s airwaves with dubious statements and misrepresentations in attempts to scare consumers away from voting in their best interests. And they’ve made a difference. Back in March, a survey revealed that 91% of consumers nationwide favor the labeling of GE foods, a remarkable consensus that cut across party lines. Up until the past few weeks, before the “No on 37” ads started appearing, there was a 2:1 margin in favor or labeling GE foods. However, recent polls show Prop 37 in a dead heat. What happened? In early August, Beyond Pesticides reported on how pesticide manufacturers are “pushing hard” to block the passage of this proposition. At the time, the “No” campaign […]

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15
Oct

Corporate Assault Targets California Voters in Attempt to Stop GE Labeling Proposition

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2012) California’s Proposition 37, which would require mandatory labeling on genetically engineered (GE) foods, is facing a strong challenge as tens of millions of conventional food industry dollars have poured into television advertisements before the November 6th election. Poll results released Thursday by the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and the California Business Roundtable show that 48.3% of respondents would vote yes for the measure on Nov. 6, while 40.2% would vote no. Prop 37 was authored by James Wheaton, president of the Environmental Law Foundation. Earlier this year, the California Right to Know campaign gathered 971,126 petition signatures for Prop 37, nearly double the 555,236 signatures required to qualify for inclusion on the ballot. As it currently stands, over 40 countries around the world, including all of Europe, Japan, and China have the right to know whether they are eating GE food. While opponents of the initiative are attempting to mislead the public about the costs of the proposition, an economic assessment from Joanna M. Shepherd-Bailey, Ph.D. of Emory University School of Law reveals that the initiative would not result in any additional expense to the taxpayers of California; Prop 37 is self-enforced and […]

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03
Aug

Pesticide Corporations Pushing Hard to Stop GE Labeling in California

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2012) Pesticide manufactures don’t want you to know what’s in your food. According to filings released Tuesday through the office of California’s Secretary of State, chemical company lobby groups have so far spent $750,000 in efforts to block the passage of California’s Prop 37, which would require mandatory labeling on genetically engineered (GE) foods. Opponents of the proposition raised over one million dollars this year for the “Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme.” Members of this coalition include the ”˜big 6’ chemical companies Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, and BASF, which have spent $375,000 alone through their exclusive lobbying group Council for Biotechnology Information. Overlapping ”˜big 6’ membership, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), which also includes the corporations Pepsico Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, and Kelloggs, recently stated in a speech at the American Soybean Association that defeating the California initiative is “the single highest-priority of the GMA this year,” according to a story in The Huffington Post. GMA has also spent $375,000 this year lobbying against Prop 37. “The Big Six chemical & seed companies are working diligently to monopolize the food system at the expense of consumers, farmers and smaller seed companies,” said Philip […]

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18
Jan

GMO Development in Europe Takes a Hit, Focus on U.S. Markets To Intensify

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2012) Given the persistent wariness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Europe, Germany’s BASF will stop developing new products targeting the European market. The group announced on January 16 that it plans to refocus its activities in the sector on more receptive regions. Unfortunately, this means BASF will redouble its efforts in the U.S. to develop new GMO products, leading to public and environmental health concerns in this country. In a statement, a BASF representative announced, “Biotechnologies are not accepted enough in many parts of Europe by the majority of consumers, farmers and political leaders. That is why it does not make sense economically to continue to invest in products aimed exclusively at this market.” BASF promotion of its GMO products has been stalled in the last couple years. BASF fought for a decade before obtaining European Union (EU) marketing authorization in 2010 for Amflora, a genetically modified high-starch potato. Shortly afterwards BASF mistakenly planted in an Amflora field in Sweden another of its GMO potatoes, Amadea, which had not received authorization from European officials. According to the company, after this scandal, “European sentiment towards transgenic products declined further.” BASF plans to halt the planting and […]

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05
Dec

Six Largest Pesticide Manufacturers Stand Trial at International People’s Court

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2011) On December 3, the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal pesticide plant disaster in Bhopal, India, a trial began in an international people’s court in India involving the world’s six largest pesticide companies: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow and Dupont. These companies, collectively known as the “Big 6,” are cited by prosecutors for their human rights violations, including internationally recognized rights to life, livelihood and health. Beyond Pesticides joined Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and others in signing a joint statement demanding that these companies be held accountable for their human rights violations, which was presented at the trial. The trial, hosted by PAN International, is facilitated by the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PTT), an international opinion tribunal independent from State authorities. The prosecution’s 230-page indictment outlines the global threats to human rights. It begins: The victims and survivors of [pesticide industry] aggression are the poor peasants, small-scale farmers, agricultural workers, rural women, children, and indigenous and agricultural communities around the world. They are at the mercy of the expanding power of the agrochemical [corporations] and are losing their control over their seeds and knowledge, and suffering debilitating physical and chronic effects due to pesticide poisoning, including coping […]

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25
Jun

Pesticide Industry Ranked on Its Damage to Health and Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2008) Pesticides manufactured by Bayer (Germany), Syngenta (Switzerland), Monsanto (USA), BASF (Germany) and Dow Chemical (USA) pose the biggest threat to human health and the environment, according to a new Greenpeace Germany report, “The Dirty Portfolios of the Pesticides Industry.” The report provides the first-ever ranking of the world’s leading agrochemical companies based on the hazards and risks of their pesticides on human health and the environment. These five companies together account for 75 percent of the world market and 46 percent of the pesticides they sell worldwide are particularly hazardous substances. Monsanto has the portfolio with the highest proportion, 60 percent, of pesticides that are particularly toxic to humans and the environment. However, Monsanto only ends up in the middle of the overall ranking due to its small share of the market. The overall ranking not only takes into account the hazardous properties of the various pesticides, but also the quantities that are sold worldwide. Pesticides manufactured by Bayer pose the biggest threat to human health and the environment, according to the report. “Our ranking shows how toxic the business of the leading agrochemical companies still is,” said Greenpeace chemicals expert Manfred Krautter. “Politicians must […]

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10
Oct

BASF To Get Serious About Worldwide Pesticide Counterfeiting

(Beyond Pesticides, October, 10 2007) One of the largest chemical companies in the world, BASF Corporation, announced in a press release October 9, 2007 that it will get serious in its campaign against the use of illegal pesticides. The sale and distribution of unregistered or counterfeit pesticidal products is clearly prohibited under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), resulting in harm to public health and the environment. Several companies have recently been fined by the EPA for selling and distributing unregistered or mislabeled pesticide products (See Daily News Blogs: “EPA Fines Clorox Over Export Labels” and “Target Settles with EPA on Labeling Violations”). BASF sees the problem as adversely affecting its bottom line. BASF Agricultural Products spends over 300 million euros in research and development, especially in the field of crop protection, to develop and launch new products. As a result, the company is on a state of alert to prevent activities which deliberately infringe its existing patents or which are illegal, including product counterfeiting and the sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides. The agricultural products division of BASF said that its worldwide fight against illegal pesticides would involve taking legal action for patent infringement, illegal imports of […]

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