Bypassing the regular rhetoric proposed by GMO supporters that they are ‘substantially equivalent to non-GM crops,’ I’d like to offer another strain of inquiry. Putting the transgenic technology that has allowed most genetically modified crops to exist, aside, why don’t we look at something else that is perhaps even more alarming about continuing to plant genetically modified seed – like pesticides.
The fact is that over 99% of GMO acreage is engineered by chemical companies to tolerate heavy herbicide (glyphosate) use and/or produce insecticide (Bt) in every cell of every plant over the entire growing season. This alone should cause any level headed scientist or farmer to take note.
If then, more than 80% of the ‘staple’ crops in the US are planted with GM varieties of corn, soy, and cotton, then we can assume that we are all eating a big heaping helping of those herbicides and pesticides, right?
One doesn’t naturally follow the other, but a recent study titled, “Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered Crops” and published by Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, proves that this is in fact true.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) writes in a report:
“Genetically engineered (GE) varieties with pest management traits became commercially available for major crops in 1996. More than 15 years later, adoption of these varieties by U.S. farmers is widespread and U.S. consumers eat many products derived from GE crops—including cornmeal, oils, and sugars—largely unaware that these products were derived from GE crops. [Emphasis Added] Despite the rapid increase in the adoption of corn, soybean, and cotton GE varieties by U.S. farmers, questions persist regarding their economic and environmental impacts, the evolution of weed resistance, and consumer acceptance.”
Whether one agrees if GM seed itself is safe, the use of systemic insecticides, which coat GMO corn and soy seeds and are incorporated and expressed inside the entire plant, has exploded in the last ten years. This includes:
- Glyphosate and its family of products including Round Up
- Many other pesticides that show up less frequently in the media
To wit – an alarming majority of pesticides used on U.S. farms do not show up on our food. And yet,
- 93% of Americans tested by the CDC had metabolites of chlorpyrifos — a nuerotoxic insectide — in their urine. This chemical has been banned from home use because of its risks to children. Chlorpyrifos is part of a family of pesticides (organophosphates) linked to ADHD.
- 99% of Americans tested positive for DDT degradants, even though DDT hasn’t been used in the U.S. since 1972. Women who were exposed to DDT as girls are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
So How can GM Crops be Deemed ‘Safe?’
If we were to look at even ONE of these chemicals and its effects on the human body, let alone its ramifications for use long term in the environment, we are looking at a serious problem. Compound this level of devastation with the fact that we are using ever-more herbicides and pesticides (with the USDA and FDA rubber stamping new concoctions proposed by biotech almost bi-annually) and you can see that we are literally under weaponized chemical warfare as a nation.
A government-published document states that:
“If you live or work within 500 feet (1,000 feet for aerial applications) of any outdoor area treated with pesticides (including businesses, homes, farms, forestland, institutions, and public spaces), you are entitled to receive information about pesticide applications, including what is being used and when.”
However, when did you get notice of Monsanto or Dow AgroSciene’s latest chemical application?
“Monsanto will have its own dicamba-containing products (DGA-salt, the same salt in Clarity) called Extendimax and Roundup Xtend that includes “VaporGrip” technology, a special adjuvant to help reduce drift. Once approved, this system will likely be available by 2015 or 2016. An Environmental Impact Survey (EIS) is currently in effect for these soybeans.”
Where exactly are those surveys being conducted – in your backyard?
It seems obviously difficult to ignore studies showing the toxicity of these poisons in singularity. How can GMO-supporters argue that GM crops are safe now?
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.