Dr. Mercola’s exposition of genetically engineered crops sheds light in such an eye-opening way that you’ll never want to buy genetically engineered ‘food’ again. Check out his article below:
By Dr. Mercola
Two major categories of genetically engineered (GE) seeds currently account for 99 percent of all acreage dedicated to GE crops in the US:
- Those engineered to withstand high amounts of herbicide, such as Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready varieties
- Those engineered to produce their own internal insecticide (so-called Bt crops)
The widespread use of these GE crops has led to chemical resistance among weeds and insects alike, despite initial assurances from the chemical technology industry that such an outcome was highly unlikely.
Well, the results are now too evident to ignore—weed resistance has been documented on 60 million acres on farms across the US, and Bt resistant rootworm is being reported in the US and Brazil.
As GE seeds became the norm, chemical resistance rapidly emerged. As a result, farmers have been applying increasingly higher amounts of pesticides in an effort to keep up with rising resistance.
The United States now uses about 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides each year,1, 2and mounting research has linked pesticides to an array of serious health problems. What we need is not a new breed of chemical-resistant crops, but that’s exactly what we’re getting…
Instead of taking a proactive approach to save the environment and human life, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently decided to deregulate Dow Chemical’s next-generation GE crops.
These crops are not only resistant to glyphosate, but also carry resistance to toxins like 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange, and Dicamba, which has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The chemical 2,4-D and other herbicides of this class have also been linked to:
- Immune system cancers
- Parkinson’s disease
- Endocrine disruption
- Reproductive problems
Then, on October 15, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced3 its final decision to register Enlist Duo—a new herbicide manufactured by Dow Chemical, to be used on corn and soybeans genetically engineered to tolerate both 2,4-D and glyphosate.
This was the final barrier standing between this new generation of GE crops and their widespread commercialization. According to the EPA:4
“The agency’s decision reflects a large body of science and an understanding of the risk of pesticides to human health and the environment… EPA scientists used highly conservative and protective assumptions to evaluate human health and ecological risks for the new uses of 2,4-D in Enlist Duo.
The assessments confirm that these uses meet the safety standards for pesticide registration and, as approved, will be protective of the public, agricultural workers, and non-target species, including endangered species.
The agency evaluated the risks to all age groups, from infants to the elderly, and took into account exposures through food, water, pesticide drift, and as a result of use around homes. The decision meets the rigorous Food Quality Protection Act standard of ‘reasonable certainty of no harm’ to human health.”
To “ensure that weeds will not become resistant to 2,4-D,” the approval of Enlist Duo comes with certain restrictions. For example, Dow is required to search for resistant weeds and report any occurrences of resistance to the EPA.
Farmer education and remediation plans are also part of these additional requirements that must be met. To prevent drift, farmers will not be permitted to spray Enlist Duo from the air, or apply it when the wind speed exceeds 15 miles per hour.
Farmers must also leave a 30-foot “no spray buffer zone” around treated crops. The registration is set to expire in six years, at which time the EPA will evaluate the emergence of resistance.
I do not believe in these assurances of safety. Nor do I think adding a different set of toxins to the growers’ mix will ameliorate resistance. Instead, what we’ll end up with is simply an increasingly toxic food supply and further environmental destruction. As noted by Pesticide Action Network:5
“USDA predicts 2,4-D use in corn and soybean production to increase between 500 percent and 1,400 percent over the course of nine years, depending on farmers’ practices and changes in Dow’s share of corn and soybean seed markets.
In making this decision, EPA officials failed to consider several important health and safety factors.
By ignoring the potential synergistic effects of 2,4-D and glyphosate, not addressing the cumulative impacts of the expected increase in 2,4-D use, and failing to implement an appropriate 10-fold safety factor to limit exposures — as required under the Food Quality Protection Act — EPA has given Enlist Duo an unjustified approval, based on a flawed and inadequate review of the chemical’s harms.
In addition, neither USDA nor EPA have looked at the economic impact that Enlist Duo drift will have on surrounding farms and communities.”[Emphasis mine]
Center for Food Safety also cites a 2012 study published in the journalBioscience, which concluded that this new generation of GE crops “will trigger still more intractable weeds resistant to both glyphosate and 2,4-D.”