“Super-Weeds” on the Rise Due to Spread of Genetically Engineered Crops

Glyphosate Resistant Conyza canadensis L. in the Eastern United States — by county

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2011) Excerpt – …Contrary to common claims from chemical manufacturers and proponents of GE technology that the proliferation of herbicide tolerant GE crops would result in lower pesticide use rates, the data show that overall use of pesticides has remained relatively steady, while glyphosate use has skyrocketed to more than double the amount used just five years ago. The 2010 Agricultural Chemical Use Report shows that 57 million pounds of glyphosate were applied last year on corn fields in surveyed states. In the same states, ten years prior, in 2000, this number was only 4.4 million pounds, and in 2005, it was still less than half of current numbers at 23 million pounds.

The rise in glyphosate applications has almost certainly come as a result of farmers increasingly planting GE crops such as corn and soybeans, which are engineered to be resistant to the chemical. In this way, farmers can apply the chemical on a vast scale across their fields while not having to be careful that they don’t hit their crops.

Glyphosate is a known carcinogen, neurotoxin, irritant, and has been found to kill human embryonic cells, and can cause kidney and liver damage. Glyphosate is also harmful to the environment, particularly aquatic life and water quality and has been linked to intersex frogs, and is lethal to amphibians in concentrations found in the environment.

As researchers scramble to find new ways of chemically coping with increased weed resistance, they overlook the glaring fact that there already exist alternative systems such as organic farming, which erases the need for these drastic measures through its systemic pest preventon approaches. Organic farming can be at least as productive as conventional, chemically-reliant farming while having none of the toxic side effects which create significant risks to ecosystems and human health. To learn more, see our page on organic food and agriculture.

full article - http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=5751

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