Bayer, notorious for harming pollinating insects with its neonicotinoid pesticides, is registering a new GM canola that will be tolerant to two health-destroying chemicals, glufosinate and glyphosate. The new GM canola strain was developed to be tolerant to a double-dose of herbicides that have been documented to cause birth defects, neuro-degeneration, cancer, endocrine disruption, and autism-like symptoms.
With an international market share of 20%, Bayer Cropscience, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bayer AG, is the second largest pesticide producer in the world (after Syngenta).
Bayer has submitted a total of 771 applications to the European Patent Office (EPA) in the last twenty years, and 206 of them were accepted. Of these, 23 patents are in relation to resistances against herbicides. The patents on glufosinate are partially leftover from the 1980’s and have expired.
To extend the duration of these toxic chemicals for profit, Bayer has made small changes to the DNA of important GM plants such as soy and cotton and applied for new patents on them. Since the patent on the Monsanto glyphosate product has expired as well, Bayer is now producing this agent itself and is holding ten of its own patents on glyphosate technologies. Bayer’s new GM canola takes advantage of the expired Monsanto patents to combine herbicidal chemicals to grow their patented seed.
Transgenic canola has already escaped into the wild to contaminate parts of North Dakota and other states in the US.
“The extent of the escape is unprecedented,” says Cynthia Sagers, an ecologist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, who led the research team that found the wandering canola (Brassica napus, also known as rapeseed).
There are multiple studies which show both glufosinate and glyphosate are harmful. Even research sponsored by the biotech industry admits:
“glufosinate aluminum is toxic to pregnant mothers only in the very early stages of their reproductive cycle.”
Their synergistic, bio-accumulated probability to cause damage has not yet been tested. Both glyphosate and glufosinate, and the blends of chemicals that constitute the herbicides Roundup, Liberty, Basta and Ignite, are highly toxic. They kill all plants other than those genetically modified to resist glyphosate and glufosinate.
“The herbicide Glufosinate (phosphinothricin, made by Bayer) kills plants because it inhibits the plant enzyme glutamine synthetase. This ubiquitous enzyme is found also in fungi, bacteria and animals. Consequently Glufosinate is toxic to most organisms. Glufosinate, for good measure, is also a neurotoxin of mammals that doesn’t easily break down in the environment (Lantz et al. 2014). Glufosinate is thus a “herbicide” in name only. Even in normal agricultural its use is hazardous.”
Considering that Monsanto once said their glyphosate was equally as harmless as some scientists claim glufosinate to be, this biologist’s words are to be heeded:
“In GMO plants the situation is worse. Glufosinate is sprayed on the crop but degradation is blocked by the transgene, which chemically modifies it slightly. This makes the plant resistant to the herbicide, but when you eat Bayers’ Glufosinate-resistant GMO maize or canola, even weeks or months later, glufosinate, though slightly modified, is probably still there (Droge et al., 1992). Nevertheless, the implications of all this additional exposure of people were ignored in GMO risk assessments of Glufosinate tolerant GMO crops.”
Now we know glyphosate is carcinogenic, and even the World Health Organization has admitted this to be so. Biotech simply adds one more toxin to the batch and who knows what kind of freakish havoc this will create in the biosphere. Ready for not one herbicide-resistant GM crop, but one that can withstand two? Thanks, I’ll pass.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.