The world’s five biggest pesticide manufacturers are making more than a third of their income from leading products selling chemicals that pose serious hazards to human health and the environment, a joint investigation by Unearthed and Public Eye has found.
Analysis of a huge database of 2018’s top-selling “crop protection products” has revealed the world’s leading agrochemical companies made more than 35% of their sales from pesticides classed as “highly hazardous” to people, animals or ecosystems.
The investigation identified billions of dollars of income for agrochemical giants BASF, Bayer, Corteva, FMC and Syngenta from chemicals found by regulatory authorities to pose health hazards like cancer or reproductive failure.
It also found more than a billion dollars of their sales came from chemicals – some now banned in European markets – that are highly toxic to bees. Over two thirds of these sales were made in low- and middle-income countries like Brazil and India.
By far the most valuable markets for the highly hazardous pesticides sold by these companies were the commodity crops soya and corn, grown in large part to provide animal feed for the meat industry.