GMOs & Toxic Pesticides

Industrial agriculture 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.

GMO-Free Seeds Action in Brussels

Balloons are used to support a banner reading 'No GMO in our seeds' outside the Council of Agricultural Ministers' building in Brussels, Belgium.

© Greenpeace / Philip Reynaers

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 that have associated certain pesticides with  increased cancer risk and with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, especially among those with high exposures. 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 drivers of increased pesticide use and chemicals in agriculture. As a matter of fact, genetically engineered 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 labeling is the rule in only a handful of countries. Giant agricultural 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 agricultural 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.

What 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

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