Jan 10, 2011
Corn plants genetically modified (GM) to produce pesticides in their tissues are contaminating water supplies across the US Midwest, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Science.
The study was conducted on corn engineered to carry a gene from the Bacillus thuriengensis (Bt) bacteria that produces an insecticidal protein, Cry1Ab. The researchers tested 217 Indiana streams for traces of Cry1Ab, and pesticide the chemical in 13 percent of them. Every contaminated stream was within 500 meters (1,600 feet) of acornfield.
In the Midwestern “Corn Belt” states of Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, 90 percent of streams andriversare within 500 meters of a corn field. This amounts to 159,000 miles worth of waterways at risk from Bt corn contamination.
Eighty-six percent of the streams tested in the study contained corn cobs, husks, leaves or stalks.
“Ourresearchadds to the growing body of evidence that corn crop byproducts can be dispersed throughout a stream network, and that the compounds associated withgenetically modifiedcrops, such as insecticidalproteins, can enter nearbywaterbodies,” said researcher Emma Rosi-Marshall.
Although this study is among the first to show that the tissues of GM crops can harm theenvironmentafter the plant has died, other dangers of GM agriculture have already been well established.
“Genes from genetically modified plants have already been shown to be capable of escaping into the environment and contaminatingnaturalcrops,” write Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno in their bookThe Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.
“Manipulating genetic material changes the expression of proteins and antigens infoods, a situation that could lead to allergic reactions. … Another concern is that some GM foods, such asGM corn, are being manipulated to resist syntheticpesticides. As a result, more of the pesticide is being used and humans’ exposure totoxicpesticides is actually increasing while insects develop resistance to the pesticides’ toxic effects.”
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This article was posted: Monday, January 10, 2011 at 5:25 am