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A Herbicide So Deadly No Nation Will Allow America to Test It

Despite resistance from nations that view them as biological weapons, a few misguided American lawmakers still hold out some hope a country will allow them to test mycoherbicides, toxic, mold-like fungi built to wipe out illegal drug crops. Fact is, the use of mycoherbicides is so dangerous and controversial -- they can reproduce and linger in soil for many years -- American scientists have only been allowed to test them in carefully controlled greenhouses.

An excellent reason mycoherbicides haven't escaped the laboratory after a planned test by the United Nations some five years ago was abandoned in Uzbekistan: One particular kind, Fusarium oxysporum, is so potent, it can kill crops ranging from watermelons to corn. Even Florida rejected a proposal to use Fusarium oxysporum on illegal drug crops, fearing it could wipe out legitimate ones.

The resistance against using mycoherbicides is so intense, even U.S. drug officials are skeptical that using them would do any good to curb the growth of illegal drugs and would only cause "considerable damage to the environment."

Still, the government will waste money on another one-step solution that could be devastating to our environment, not to mention your health, even though no nation will use it. All the more reason to do all you can to reduce your family's exposure to toxic chemicals. To that end, you'll also want to review the "Dirty Dozen" fruits and vegetables contaminated by pesticides, based on research conducted by the Environmental Working Group.

Houston Chronicle January 18, 2007