Sunday, June 10, 2012

Going backwards

What new 2,4-D-resistant crops mean - Going backwards
By Linda Greene
The Bloomington Alternative
June 10, 2012

On May 23, 2012, John Rowan, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America, sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting his “immediate assistance in staying de-regulation of Dow AgroSciences much ballyhooed 2,4-D-resistant corn seed until an environmental impact study can be conducted and its subsequent results evaluated by scientists who are not affiliated with Dow AgroScience.”

Rowan is concerned about the use of the herbicide 2,4-D on 2,4-D-resistant–corn because it constituted half the ingredients in the defoliant Agent Orange used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War and is causing serious ailments in vets and Vietnamese civilians. Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxins, the most potent synthetic class of carcinogenic chemicals known, second only to radiation in potency as a carcinogen. Although most of the dioxins were from the 2,4,5-T half of Agent Orange, 2,4-D was also contaminated.

The deregulation, or approval for widespread planting, of 2,4-D-resistant corn and consequent increased use of the herbicide is relevant to Indiana, the fifth largest corn-producing state in the nation, according to Marti Crouch, a Bloomington biologist specializing in the interrelationships of agriculture and technology. She has recently focused on the environmental impacts of Roundup Ready crops (those resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup [glyphosate]) and the concomitant increased use of Roundup.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Larger refuges needed

Larger refuges needed to sustain success of Bt corn
Press Release
Entomological Society of America
June 3, 2012

Lanham, MD - Transgenic crops that produce insect-killing proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have reduced reliance on insecticide sprays since 1996. Yet, just as insects become resistant to conventional insecticides, they also can evolve resistance to the Bt proteins in transgenic crops. Thus, to delay pest resistance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required farmers to plant “refuges” of crops that do not produce Bt proteins near Bt crops. But how much refuge acreage is enough?

In “Delaying Corn Rootworm Resistance to Bt Corn,” an article appearing in the June, 2012 issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology, authors Bruce Tabashnik (University of Arizona) and Fred Gould (North Carolina State University) conclude the EPA should more than double the percentage of corn acres planted to mandated refuges to delay insect resistance, encourage integrated pest management (IPM), and promote more sustainable crop protection.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

GM Soy and pig health

GM Soy linked to health damage in pigs — a Danish Dossier
By GM-Free Cymru (Wales)
April 27, 2012

Introduction

A Danish farming newspaper has caused quite a stir by devoting a sizeable part of its 13 April edition to the discoveries by pig farmer Ib Borup Pedersen that GM soy has a damaging effect both on his animals and on his farming profitability. On the front page of the paper there was a lead story under the headline “Pig farmer reaps gains from GMO-free soy”. On a sidebar the paper referred to Mr Pedersen’s contention that DDT and Thalidomide were minor problems when set alongside GMOs and Glyphosate. In an Editorial Comment on page 2, the paper argued that it would be grossly irresponsible for the authorities to ignore or ridicule the discoveries made by the farmer in his pig farming operations, and it congratulated the authorities for commissioning a new study designed to determine whether stomach lesions and other effects might be associated with GM soy; in the study 100 animals will be fed with non-GM soy and 100 with GM soy in their diets.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Soil ecosystem threatened

Monsanto Bt crops: genetically modified corn linked to soil ecosystem threat
By Ryan Villarreal
International Business Times
April 17, 2012

Bioengineering agricultural giant Monsanto has touted the safety of genetically modified crops, but a new study has found that insecticide-containing corn can be harmful to the overall health of soil ecosystems.

Genetically modified corn has been linked to a decrease in a subterranean fungus that forms a symbiotic bond with plant roots, allowing them to draw in more nutrients and water from the surrounding soil in exchange for carbon.

Researchers at Portland State University conducted a study to examine the effects of corn genetically engineered with the bacteria-derived insecticidal toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, on growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).

AMF is important for the overall health and fertility of soil ecosystems, and was found to form less bonds with the roots of Bt corn than with non-Bt corn.

[Read More…]

Monday, April 9, 2012

E.P.A. denies ban

E.P.A. denies an environmental group’s request to ban a widely used weed killer
By Andrew Pollack
New York Times
April 9, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said that the widely used herbicide 2,4-D would remain on the market, denying a petition from an environmental group that sought to revoke the chemical’s approval.

The E.P.A. said that the environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, had not adequately shown that 2,4-D would be harmful under the conditions in which it is used.

“At best, N.R.D.C. is asking E.P.A. to take a revised look at the toxicity of 2,4-D,” the E.P.A. said in its decision, which was posted on its Web site.

“Yet the ground for tolerance revocation is a lack of safety.”

[Read More…]

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