Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dead pests, dead weeds, altered ecosystems

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: It is no exaggeration to say that genetically altered seeds have changed the ecosystems where they are used. Here in mid-Missouri, the genetically altered soybeans and corn planted in every field have created an ecosystem so accustomed to being sprayed with Roundup that the weeds are immune to it. One of the weeds, ragweed, is most immune and with the biggest impact on humans. Of all allergens, ragweed makes the most people suffer. And now it can’t be killed with a spray that’s relatively easy to use. Now people, town and country people, will have to use a more dangerous spray. 2,4D, the herbicide that Dow and Monsanto want to use now, has already proven itself deadly to humans. It is connected with cancers and Parkinson’s disease. Both of these, rare 50 years ago, are rampant in society now. The V.A. sees patients every day with Parkinson’s, victims of the U.S. use of 2,4 D during the Vietnam War. The genetically altered seeds (also called genetically engineered (GE), genetically modified organisms (GMO), or transgenic) are sometimes modified to put a pesticide in every cell. That way, bugs that attack the plant will be killed. For corn, rootworm is a problem, so the corporations have put pesticide in the cells from root to tassel. Including, as you might guess, the kernels that are harvested to be fed to cattle, ethanol plants, and us. So when we eat that corn, we’re eating a poison that kills other creatures. What does that do to us? No clue, because it hasn’t been tested. When California activists started working to pass a law to require labeling of GMO foods, they uncovered some tests that had been run in other countries, and that showed liver problems and blood problems in rats. But the U.S. doesn’t respect those tests and there’s no money for labs to run tests here. We need to talk more about this. Tomorrow . . .

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