From the decimation of the planet's critical honeybee and monarch butterfly populations, to the creation of superweeds and superinsects, to the depletion of valuable nutrient-rich farming soil, genetic engineering poses a dangerous, and potentially irreversible threat, to planet Earth.
Among the dangers of GE crops, are:
â€¢Increased Pesticide Residues: Contrary to biotech industry propaganda, recent studies have found that US farmers growing GE crops are using just as many toxic pesticides and herbicides as conventional farmers and in some cases more. The "benefits" of these herbicide-resistant crops are that farmers can spray as much of a particular herbicide on their crops as they want-killing the weeds without damaging their crop.
Scientists estimate that herbicide-resistant crops planted around the globe will triple the amount of toxic broad-spectrum herbicides used in agriculture. These broad-spectrum herbicides are designed to literally kill everything green.
â€¢Damage to Beneficial Insects and Soil Fertility: In 1999, Cornell University researchers made a startling discovery. They found that pollen from genetically engineered bt corn was poisonous to Monarch butterflies. The study adds to a growing body of evidence that GE crops are adversely affecting a number of beneficial insects, including ladybugs and lacewings, as well as beneficial soil microorganisms, bees, and possibly birds.
â€¢Creation of GE "Superweeds" and "Superpests": Genetically engineering crops to be herbicide-resistant or to produce their own pesticide presents dangerous problems. Pests and weeds will inevitably emerge that are pesticide or herbicide-resistant, which means that stronger, more toxic chemicals will be needed to get rid of the pests.
Herbicide resistant "superweeds" are already emerging. GE crops such as rapeseed (canola) have spread their herbicide-resistance traits to related weeds such as wild mustard plants. Lab and field tests also indicate that common plant pests such as cotton bollworms, living under constant pressure from GE crops, are evolving into "superpests" completely immune to bt sprays and other environmentally sustainable bio-pesticides.
This will present a serious danger for organic and sustainable farmers whose biological pest management practices will be unable to cope with increasing numbers of superpests and superweeds.
â€¢Genetic Pollution: "Genetic pollution" and collateral damage from GE field crops already have begun to wreak environmental havoc. Wind, rain, birds, bees, and insect pollinators have begun carrying genetically-altered pollen into adjoining fields, polluting the DNA of crops of organic and non-GE farmers. An organic farm in Texas has been contaminated with genetic drift from GE crops grown on a nearby farm.
Because they are alive, gene-altered crops are inherently more unpredictable than chemical pollutants-they can reproduce, migrate, and mutate. Once released, it is virtually impossible to recall GE organisms back to the laboratory or the field.
â€¢Genetic "Bio-Invasion": By virtue of their "superior" genes, some GE plants and animals will inevitably run amok, overpowering wild species in the same way that exotic species, such as kudzu vine and Dutch elm disease have created problems when introduced in North America. What will happen to wild fish and marine species, for example, when scientists release into the environment carp, salmon, and trout that are twice as large, and eat twice as much food, as their wild counterparts?
Most Commonly Used Herbicide Found to be Carcinogenic
As if the health hazards of genetically altered food crops weren't bad enough, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has also been deemed a major health hazard both to the environment, and to animal and human health. It is toxic to human cells, and according to a French research team, it is also carcinogenic. The team has studied the herbicide extensively, and published at least five articles on glysphosate's potential for wide-ranging environmental and human harmi. Their research shows that glyphosate:
â€¢Causes cell cycle dysregulation, which is a hallmark of tumor cells and human cancers
â€¢Inhibits DNA synthesis in certain parts of the cell cycleâ€”the process by which cells reproduce that underlies the growth and development of all living organisms
â€¢Impedes the hatchings of sea urchins. (Sea urchins were used because they constitute an appropriate model for the identification of undesirable cellular and molecular targets of pollutants.) The delay was found to be dose dependent on the concentration of Roundup. The surfactant polyoxyethylene amine (POEA), another major component of Roundup, was also found to be highly toxic to the embryos when tested alone, and could therefore be a contributing factor
It doesn't matter that the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health recently published "research" to the contraryii, the French team saysâ€•the world needs to know the truth about who did that "safety-finding" research. It was funded by none other than Monsanto itself! Is it any wonder they came to the conclusion that:
"[T]he available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations."
The new Monsanto-funded safety research actually used the French team's original research to debunk the evidence that Roundup could have human or environmental safety issues. And that didn't sit well with the French team, which was so angered they wrote a detailed response to Monsanto's article, accusing the researchers of minimalizing the French group's work and publishing misleading information.