Could the recent Zika spike in Brazil be attributed to the exponential use of toxic pesticides? Or is the combination of GMO mosquitoes with the increase in toxic pesticides to blame? Either way, the chemical cartel is surely have a field day reaping in the profits both from pesticide and GMO sales as well as the increased need for pharmaceuticals.
Pesticide use in Brazil has grown 162% in the last 12 years (and this does not include the recent fumigations to eradicate mosquitoes). Similar to Brazil, Hawaii is also experiencing a dramatic increase in birth defects, which they attribute to overuse of toxic GMO pesticides. “Since 2009 Brazil has taken over as the largest global consumer of agro-chemicals,” Paulo Petersen, director of the Brazilian Agro-Ecology Association (ABA), told Agencia Brasil news agency. “The consumption would equal 5.5 kilos per person per year,” From the Rio Times.
Until the use of toxic pesticides, in particular pesticides used for GMO farming is reduced substantially, we can expect the rise in birth defects and painful birth defects to continue. Only in countries where such substances are banned will these consequences rarely be seen.
BraziilFateful Harvest Reuters
What are GMOs, GM crops, Genetically Engineered Foods? Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods
From the World Health Organization: These questions and answers have been prepared by WHO in response to questions and concerns from WHO Member State Governments with regard to the nature and safety of genetically modified food.
1. What are genetically modified (GM) organisms and GM foods?
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology”, sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering”. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between nonrelated species. Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as GM foods.
2. Why are GM foods produced?
GM foods are developed – and marketed – because there is some perceived advantage either to the producer or consumer of these foods. This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both. Initially GM seed developers wanted their products to be accepted by producers and have concentrated on innovations that bring direct benefit to farmers (and the food industry generally).
One of the objectives for developing plants based on GM organisms is to improve crop protection. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.
Resistance against insects is achieved by incorporating into the food plant the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This toxin is currently used as a conventional insecticide in agriculture and is safe for human consumption. GM crops that inherently produce this toxin have been shown to require lower quantities of insecticides in specific situations, e.g. where pest pressure is high. Virus resistance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from certain viruses which cause disease in plants. Virus resistance makes plants less susceptible to diseases caused by such viruses, resulting in higher crop yields.
Herbicide tolerance is achieved through the introduction of a gene from a bacterium conveying resistance to some herbicides. In situations where weed pressure is high, the use of such crops has resulted in a reduction in the quantity of the herbicides used.