From Scientific American:
Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised. That is because agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers.
To purchase genetically modified seeds, a customer must sign an agreement that limits what can be done with them.
For a decade their user agreements have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects.
Research on genetically modified seeds is still published, of course. But only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal. In a number of cases, experiments that had the implicit go-ahead from the seed company were later blocked from publication because the results were not flattering.
Bt cotton did reduce pesticide use right at first. Bt is a toxin that causes insects’ stomachs to burst. The problem is that pretty soon either they become resistant to it or other pests move in. Then you’re back to using more pesticides again.
From Cornell University:
Seven-year glitch: Cornell warns that Chinese GM cotton farmers are losing money due to ‘secondary’ pests’
“Although Chinese cotton growers were among the first farmers worldwide to plant genetically modified (GM) cotton to resist bollworms, the substantial profits they have reaped for several years by saving on pesticides have now been eroded.
The reason, as reported by Cornell University researchers at the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting in Long Beach, Calif., July 25, is that other pests are now attacking the GM cotton.
The GM crop is known as Bt cotton, shorthand for theBacillus thuringiensis gene inserted into the seeds to produce toxins. But these toxins are lethal only to leaf-eating bollworms. After seven years, populations of other insects — such as mirids — have increased so much that farmers are now having to spray their crops up to 20 times a growing season to control them, according to the study of 481 Chinese farmers in five major cotton-producing provinces.
The study — the first to look at the longer-term economic impact of Bt cotton — found that by year three, farmers in the survey who had planted Bt cotton cut pesticide use by more than 70 percent and had earnings 36 percent higher than farmers planting conventional cotton. By 2004, however, they had to spray just as much as conventional farmers, which resulted in a net average income of 8 percent less than conventional cotton farmers because Bt seed is triple the cost of conventional seed. “
I really am amazed you would proclaim the safety of 2,4-D. I think you should drink a big glass of it to prove to us all how safe it is.
There is also the issue of how it affects bees. It doesn’t kill adult bees but impairs their ability to reproduce. A personal account from a beekeeper:
Even though adult bees were not immediately killed and no adult bees were observed dead in colonies, the removal of eggs, larva and sealed brood led to the eventual collapse and failure of the effected colonies. Honey Bees are extremely fragile and if I experienced a burning sensation upon being sprayed with 2-4-D one can only imagine what effect it has on Honey Bees.
It’s my opinion that the Government needs to do more testing on the long term effects of 2-4-D and Honey Bees. Every time I hear a Beekeeper tell another Beekeeper that it is ok to spray any type of weed control containing 2-4-D around Honey Bee colonies I cringe. Unfortunately we are society that looks only at direct effect and not long term consequences.
Lawsuit in U.S.A. Uncovers Disagreement
Within FDA Over Safety of Biotech Foods
Agency Contradicted Own Experts in Approving Genetically Engineered Foods
— Misrepresented Facts in Order to Promote U.S. Biotech Industry
In May 1998, a coalition of public interest groups, scientists, and
religious leaders filed a landmark lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration to obtain mandatory safety testing and labeling of all
genetically engineered foods (Alliance for Bio-Integrity, et. al. v.
Shalala). Nine eminent life scientists joined the coalition in order to
emphasize the degree to which they think FDA policy is scientifically
unsound and morally irresponsible. Now, the FDA’s own files confirm how
well-founded are their concerns. The FDA was required to deliver copies
of these files–totalling over 44,000 pages–to the plaintiffs’
The FDA’s records reveal it declared genetically engineered foods to be
safe in the face of disagreement from its own experts–all the while
claiming a broad scientific consensus supported its stance. Internal
reports and memoranda disclose: (1) agency scientists repeatedly
cautioned that foods produced through recombinant DNA technology entail
different risks than do their conventionally produced counterparts and
(2) that this input was consistently disregarded by the bureaucrats who
crafted the agency’s current policy, which treats bioengineered foods the
same as natural ones.
Besides contradicting the FDA’s claim that its policy is science-based,
this evidence shows the agency violated the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic
Act in allowing genetically engineered foods to be marketed without
testing on the premise that they are generally recognized as safe by