Last week I had the opportunity to present a talk to a group in West Lafayette, IN. They were interested in knowing about the risks of genetically engineered crops. This is a pet subject of mine. I have concluded that the only benefits that come from GM crops are additions to the bottom line profit of the giant companies that both provide the seed and then sell the herbicide for weed control. The crop is “engineered” to withstand normally lethal doses of the herbicide. Until recently, weeds were killed and corn or soy beans or cotton plants survived to harvest. Now, superweeds are becoming a major problem. The answer: the chemical companies want to offer more potent toxins to kill weeds and engineer the crops to be able to take the more lethal poisons and survive. The wheel turns, ever escalating to more and more environmental damage with no end in sight.
Elements of the genetically engineered crops and harvest from them are finding their way directly or indirectly into the human food system. Genes can transfer and pesticides are chemicals that can bioaccumulate or screw around with human hormones causing damage. The effects can be acute or chronic. They can come on quickly or may take years. Kind of reminds one of the story of tobacco, doesn’t it? The industry denies any harm, only good. Time will tell. Then it may be too late because calling back engineered genes from our environment is simply not possible.