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Why Grow GM Crops That Need Pesticides Anyway?

No doubt, a Cornell University study eliminates the most important reason any farmer would consider planting genetically modified (GM) crops: Avoiding pesticides.

Researchers monitored use of Bt cotton (so named for the Bacillus thuringiensis gene inserted into the seeds to produce toxins lethal specifically to leaf-eating bollworms) by nearly 500 Chinese farmers in five cotton-producing provinces over seven years. The study started out well enough: Farmers slashed their use of pesticides by more than 70 percent and earned 36 percent more than their peers growing conventional cotton, both by year three.

By the end of the study, however, the financial viability of Bt cotton plummeted because farmers were using just as much pesticide on their crops as their non-GM peers because many more pests, including leaf bugs called mirids, took their place. And, besides, BT seed costs three times more than conventional seed.

Do you need any more evidence GM crops are bad for our environment and your health? Like a previous study I posted last year about GM peas causing lung damage in mice, had a private company, like Monsanto, been involved at all -- not a university -- chances are more than good you would've never heard about it.

Just a reminder, some 70 percent of the processed foods you see in your corner grocery store contain GM ingredients. Before your next shopping trip, I urge you to review my helpful hints for separating fake foods from the real thing.

Cornell University Chronicle Online July 25, 2006

Truthout.org July 27, 2006

Biology News.net July 25, 2006

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