Corn, a crop most likely to be genetically modified – with 70 percent of corn engineered simply to drown in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup - is casting off its GMO contaminants into surrounding waterways, and likely making it into your drinking water. According to researchers, the insecticides modified into the corn are being detected in streams up to 500 meters away from corn farms, and quite possibly further.
The research was conducted in the states of Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, where corn fields are abundant. Scientists found the bacterial protein washed off the corn and directly into the streams. While they won’t say for certain what this means for human health, the consensus is that it can’t be good.
According to U.K.’s Independent, U.S. corn has a gene from the Bacillus thuriengensis (BT) bacterium inserted into it to repel bugs. This gene produced the Cry1Ab protein, which “has insecticidal properties.” It’s this protein that is being found in the water system.
It’s believed the protein is making its way to the water because of the practice of leaving plant material on the field until the next season. This “no till” method is used because it prevents erosion, but it also provides an opportunity for the potentially dangerous protein to be washed away.
And while the GM corn is a culprit in polluting our waters, research has pointed to GMO farming in general and chemicals like glyphosate for being significant causes of water pollution. One explosive study confirmed that glyphosate, the active ingredient residing in the ever-so-popular Roundup product from Monsanto, is making its way into groundwater across the nation through widespread contamination of aquifers, wells, and springs
Needless to say, this isn’t the first time Bt has been in the news. This spring we reported on a study linking Bt insecticide to the death of human kidney cells.
Despite this and other troubling news about GMO crops, the United States remains steadfast in its protection against agri-giants like Monsanto, preferring to please them rather than protect the people.
In 2009, more than 85% of American corn crops were genetically modified, but that number has likely increased since that time. All the while, other countries in Europe don’t even allow the GMO corn or at the very minimum label food sources that contain GMO ingredients. No similar protections are provided in the United States.