GMOs and pesticides: a toxic mix

Background - 25 August, 2015
Industrial ag is a system with an expiration date. It’s only a few decades old, but just start adding up the environmental costs we are incurring by this broken system. More and more polluted waterways, clear-cut forests, inhumane treatment of livestock and megatons of greenhouse gases. It’s quite simply unsustainable.

So many of the foods we eat everyday are sprayed again and again with pesticides before landing on our table. There are a growing number of studies which have associated certain pesticides with increased cancer risk and with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, especially amongst those with high exposures. In addition unborn children are especially vulnerable because pesticides have also been associated with birth defects.

What most people don’t know is the connection between GMOs and pesticides: The surge in genetically engineered crops in the past few decades is one the main causes of the increasing use of pesticides and chemicals in agriculture. As a matter of fact, GE crops directly promote an industrial and chemical intensive model of farming harmful to people, the environment and wildlife.

Because of corporate pressure, millions like us are denied the right to know about where GMOs occur in the food chain. Mandatory GMO labelling is the rule in only a handful of countries. Giant ag firms insist that GMO crops are not harmful to humans, but the world simply doesn’t have enough evidence to make that absolute claim. GMO crops have only gone mainstream in the past 20 years.

Beyond that, giant ag firms should not have the right to own the genetic makeup of a particular strain of corn or soy or, in essence, patent nature. We shouldn’t accept a world where chemical giants go after small farmers because a patented seed accidentally blew into their field and transformed their crops. GMOs threaten the independence of farmers to provide food to us all be ensuring their sovereignty over what to grow.

Tractor in Soya Field in Brazil. 1 Mar, 2006 © Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá

Facts You Should Know

  • Mandatory GMO labelling is the rule in 64 countries, but major markets like the United States, Canada, Argentina and most of continental Africa do not require it.

  • Monsanto is the world’s top producer of GMO seeds, which are designed to resist the toxic weedkiller RoundUp, also sold by Monsanto. As a result, the use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. Glyphosate, the active ingredient of RoundUp, was reclassified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

  • Pesticide use has increased by 404 million pounds from the time genetically engineered crops were introduced back in 1996.

What You Can Do

Jump-start an eco-food revolution by sharing this page. Then click to see What You Can Do now.

Categories