The Agrichemical Industry’s Broken Promise

Monday, September 15, 2014

 

In a newly published review, former Environmental Protection Agency senior scientist Dr. Ramon J. Seidler explains that the agrichemical industry’s promise that genetically engineered crops would reduce pesticide use has been broken. He also points out that much of the popular press has been slow to notice – and some outlets continue to erroneously claim – that GE crop systems cut the use of toxic pesticides.

Chemical companies profit from selling the herbicides, insecticides and fungicides they produce. So it’s no surprise that they’re not bending over backwards to develop products that would actually require less use of those products. To the contrary, Monsanto’s Roundup, in combination with “Roundup-ready” herbicide-tolerant seeds, require ever more glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) in order to kill the “superweeds” that evolved as a result of overuse of Roundup.

Dr. Seidler points out that America’s use of glyphosate has increased 12-fold since 1996 and helped spawn more than 60 million acres of superweeds on farmland across the country.

Now that the shortsightedness of applying Roundup to glyphosate-tolerant crops has become apparent, agrichemical companies are looking to older, more toxic chemicals as the next short-term fix.

One such “solution” is Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Duo, a toxic mixture of glyphosate and 2,4-D – the 1940’s era defoliant linked to Parkinson’s, cancer, thyroid and reproductive problems. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is one step away from formally approving the glyphosate- and 2,4-D-tolerant corn and soybeans. And EPA is likely to make its final decision to approve the weed killer this year.

According to the USDA, unleashing Enlist Duo onto the market would increase the use of 2,4-D by 200-to-600 percent in the next six years.

Click here to read "Pesticide Use On Genetically Engineered Crops," Dr. Seidler’s account of just how damaging the increase in pesticides has been.

 

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