QWhy does the President's Cancer Panel 2008-2009 Report urge the President to remove toxins including pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides from our air, soil, and water but Biotech companies continually create chemicals that are doing the exact opposite?

Why does the President's Cancer Panel 2008-2009 Report urge the President to remove toxins including pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides from our air, soil, and water but Biotech companies continually create chemicals that are doing the exact opposite? Why do studies show an increase in use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides in GMO crops? There is cause and effect in everything we do. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/28/us-parkinsons-disease-idUSBRE94R0TL20130528

AExpert Answer

First, it’s important to note that the report you reference was criticized when it was released for claiming that “the true burden of environmentally (i.e., pollution) induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.” An ABC News reporter wrote at the time: “But paging through the lengthy report, it was difficult to find solid science to back that strong statement.” The American Cancer Society pointed out in a statement about the report that its conclusion “does not represent scientific consensus” but rather “reflects one side of a scientific debate.”

 

Second, pesticides in use today have been thoroughly evaluated for environmental and human safety. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the sale and use of pesticides and requires robust studies and lengthy testing to demonstrate safety before any product reaches the market. Many products on the market today have specific modes of action for a target pest. An example of a class of crop protection chemistry that is marketed by DuPont and remains popular is sulfonylurea herbicides. These herbicides are used at very low rates (often less than one-tenth of a pound per acre) and disrupt an enzymatic pathway found only in plants, and therefore have minimal impact on other organisms (e.g., humans, birds, insects). For all products, strict handling requirements are implemented to limit potential farmworker exposure and also to limit products’ potential exposure to the environment and other non–target organisms.

 

On a personal note, I grew up on a farm, and my father, other family members and neighbors have used crop protection products all their lives and remain healthy and productive. While this is simply an observation, there are hundreds of thousands of family farmers across the country with a similar history of crop protection product safety.

Posted on March 28, 2017
Thanks for the question, which I will address in two ways here.   1. What are three ways that organisms are modified by scientists? Here I will focus only on plants.   a. Agrobacterium: Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Agro) is a naturally occurring soil organism that causes a disease in plants called crown gall disease. In the late 1970s, Mary-Dell Chilton discovered that Agro actually transfers genes (DNA) from the Agro to the plant cell, where it becomes integrated into the plant... Read More
Posted on December 1, 2016
Viroids are very small pieces of circular RNA that have the potential of causing plant diseases. These entities are infectious agents that are different from viruses because they have no protein coat encircling their genetic material. Thus far, viroids are only known to be effective infectious agents in plants. Viroids have not been associated with any animal disease, and they have not been found in animal cells and tissues.    Biotechnological tools are being used in... Read More
Posted on May 5, 2016
Thank you for your question regarding the benefits of GMOs. Our experts have answered similar questions in the past – please see below for a comprehensive overview on this topic which should help address your question.   WHAT IS A GMO?   When people refer to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), they are referring to precision plant breeding using genetic engineering. It allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait (like resistance to drought, insects, weeds, and... Read More

Explore More Topics