EPA and BioTech Corn

Kevin Ancell kancell at goodearthgardens.com
Fri Oct 19 08:44:00 EDT 2001




     The Environmental Protection Agency this week announced that so-called
"biotech," or Bt corn, is not a threat to either the environment, or the
people who ultimately consume it. "Bt corn has been evaluated thoroughly by
the EPA, and we are confident that it does not pose risks to human health,
or to the environment," announced EPA Assistant Administrator Steve Johnson
of the EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. EPA's
findings echo recent studies conducted by the National Academy of Sciences,
which found that concerns about Bt corn raised by those opposed to so-called
"Frankenfoods" reflect irrational fears and, more to the point, remote
risks. EPA's endorsement of Bt is good news all around.
      The benefits of Bt corn are substantial. Larger crop yields are first
and foremost - as less corn will be eaten by insects and thus more corn will
be available to feed human beings. This is very important given the food
shortages and starvation that continue to plague large portions of the
world.
      But a secondary and equally important benefit is that Bt corn does not
need sprayed-on chemical pesticides - pesticides that are often quite
harmful, even potentially carcinogenic. Even if they are fairly harmless to
humans - provided the plants and veggies are thoroughly cleaned before
consumption - these chemical pesticides still get into the ecosystem,
leaching into groundwater and contaminating rivers. Pesticide run-off is a
major problem - one that Bt corn and similarly modified plant crops might
substantially ameliorate.





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