Brazilian authorities recently approved new types of GM corn and soy meant to be used with 2,4-D chemicals, as well as a genetically modified eucalyptus trees. But it seems the country is divided. Brazil’s National Cancer Institute just echoed the World Health Organization’s concern that glyphosate, one of the most often used biotech chemicals in the world, is cancerous. What’s more, it condemns GM crops for placing the country in the top ranking globally for pesticide consumption.
So which is it – support biotech or kick them out of your country, Brazil?
If you ask Brazil’s National Cancer Institute (NCI), glyphosate use and GM crops are putting the country in the top ten for pesticide consumption – and this doesn’t bode well for keeping cancer at bay. As one of the largest agrochemical users in the world, Brazil’s cancer institute seems to be at odds with its regulatory agencies which have allowed three new GM crops into the country just last week – new strains of GM corn and soy meant to be used with 2,4-D and GM eucalyptus trees which consume more water than non-GM trees.
In a (translated) report administered by the NCI, a part of the country’s ministry of health, GM crops are painted as devilish:
“Importantly, the release of transgenic seeds in Brazil was one of the factors responsible for putting the country in first place in the ranking of agrochemical consumption – since the cultivation of these modified seeds requires the use of large quantities of these products.
The cropping pattern with the intensive use of pesticides generates major harms, including environmental pollution and poisoning of workers and the population in general. Acute pesticide poisoning is the best known effect and affects especially those exposed in the workplace (occupational exposure). This is characterized by effects such as irritation of the skin and eyes, itching, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, spasms, breathing difficulties, seizures and death.”
As a writer from the US, I’m not one to talk; my own country’s policies toward GM crops are abominable, but the division in Brazil’s Ministry of Health and the biotech-supporting Agricultural Ministry of Brazil are at least indicative of some truth telling. Both our Departments of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control, along with other Federal agencies, are complicit in ignoring the true damage that GM farming causes.
The NCI’s report also explains:
“The most recent results of the Analytical Program on Pesticide Residues of Brazil’s health agency ANVISA revealed samples with pesticide residues above the maximum permissible limit.”
Many of the pesticides present in Brazil’s food had never been registered in Brazil nor allowed by government agencies.
Considering that new GM corn and soy strains will be used with heavy doses of 2,4-D, it looks like Brazil, like the US, has a long way to go to rid the country of biotech influence. The NCI’s report is at least a start.
Image from: SustainablePulse
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.