What's Wrong with Genetically Modified Cotton?
(Last updated 9 January 2003)
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Genetically Modified Cotton - News
- Crops which have been Genetically Modified to resist insects kill not just the "target insect" (such as the borer or weevil) but beneficial insects (such as the Monarch butterfly).
- Cotton crops which have been Genetically Modified to resist herbicides encourage the use of larger quantities of herbicide, with the effect that both weeds and beneficial plants are killed indiscriminately. These herbicides are harmful to both the environment and to humans.
- Genetically Modified plants may crossbreed with wild species to produce "superweeds", which cannot be eliminated using standard herbicides.
- The use of Genetically Modified Cotton encourages dependence by the farmers on a single seed supplier and may involve the purchase of both the seed and herbicide from one supplier. The farmer is then at the mercy of the seed company who may vary prices of both seed and
herbicide at will.
- The use of Genetically Modified Cotton reduces the number of Cotton species which are
actively grown and therefore reduces biodiversity.
- Toxic compounds such as glyphosphate (RoundUp) and Bromoxynil are used on Genetically Modified Cotton crops. The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of Bromoxynil despite acknowledging "...serious concerns about developmental risks to infants and children."
- The nature of genetic modification and long term effects are not well understood as these products have not been properly tested before being released into the environment.
In the USA, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the use of
Genetically Modified Cotton based on data supplied by the manufacturer, Monsanto.