GMO's Kill The Earth

a Flyer by Koh Co.

Adverse Environmental Effects

GM pesticide-producing crops kill specific pests, by secreting toxins known as Bt, which

originate from a bacterium. However, new peer-reviewed scientific evidence is mounting that these GM crops are toxic to harmless non-target species. Long-term exposure to pollen from GM insectresistant maize causes adverse effects on the behavior and survival of the monarch

butterfly, America’s most famous butterfly. Few studies on European butterflies have been

conducted, but those that have suggest they would suffer from pesticide-producing GM

crops. These studies are all based on one type of toxin, Cry1Ab, present in GM maize

varieties Bt11 and MON810. Much less is known about the toxicity of other types of Bt toxin

(i.e. Cry1F, present in the GM maize 1507). Cry1F is highly likely to also be toxic to non-target

organisms. These pesticides are also toxic to beneficial insects. GM Bt crops adversely affect

beneficial insects important to controlling maize pests like the green lacewing. Also, the toxin Cry1Ab has been shown to affect the learning performance of honeybees. The environmental risk assessment under which current GM Bt crops have been assessed (in the EU and elsewhere) considers direct acute toxicity alone, and not effects on organisms higher up the food chain. But these effects can be important. The toxic effects to beneficial lacewings came through the prey they ate. The single-tier risk assessment has been widely criticized by scientists who call for a more holistic assessment

These "natural" pesticides are also a threat to soil ecosystems. Many Bt crops secrete their toxin from their roots into the soil and residues left in the field contain the active Bt toxin. The long-term, cumulative effects of growing Bt maize are of concern. EU risk assessments so far fail to foresee at least two other impacts of Bt maize, namely the risk to aquatic life. Leaves and/or grain from Bt maize can enter bodies of water where the toxinscan accumulate in organisms and the water itself and possibly exert a toxic effect. The use of these crops amy also swapp one pest for another. Several scientific studies show that new pests are filling the

void left by the absence of rivals initially controlled by Bt crops. Plant-insect interactions are complex, are hard to predict and are not adequately risk assessed. II. GM herbicide tolerant (HT) crops are generally associated with one of two herbicides: glyphosate (the active ingredient of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup used with Roundup Ready GM crops, also sold by Monsanto), or glufosinate, used with Bayer’s Liberty Link GM crops. Both herbicides raise concerns, but many recent environmental studies have focussed on glyphosate, which is associated with: toxic effects of herbicides on ecosystems. Several new studies suggest that Roundup is far less benign than previously thought. For example, it is toxic to aquatic organisms such as the frog and there are concerns that it could affect plants essential for farmland birds. Wider impacts may exist. Glyphosate is associated with nutrient (nitrogen and manganese) deficiencies in GM Roundup Ready soya, thought to be induced by its effects on soil microorganisms. There is also increased weed tolerance to herbicide. Weed resistance to Roundup is now a serious problem in the US and South America where Roundup Ready crops are grown on a large scale. Increasing amounts of glyphosate or additional herbicides are needed to control these "superweeds", adding to the toxicity of food and the environment.

Adverse Economic Effects

The costs of segregating genetically modified (GM) and conventional crops are much higher than originally thought, and could push up food prices, warns Friends of the Earth Europe in a new briefing today. 'The socio-economic effects of GMOs' reveals the hidden costs of GM crop cultivation that are being unfairly pushed onto conventional and organic sectors – risking further GMO-contamination and increased food prices – and comes as environment ministers meet to discuss GM-crops in Europe. Official EU research concludes that the segregation of GM-crops from conventional products could increase product costs by up to 13%, but the real figure is far higher. An EU spokesman added, "99.9 percent of European land remains GM-free, and widespread opposition to genetically modified crops and foods in Europe continues to grow. GM-crops will hinder, not help, in the challenge to ensure we can feed a growing global population. Decision makers must call for an end to further GM-crop cultivation in Europe ensuring a vibrant rural economy and greener farming."
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