21/05/2007

Endocrine Disruption Linked to GE Crop Sprays

 

Endocrine Disruption Linked to GE Crop Sprays


GE crops designed to survive toxic herbicides may increase people's
exposure to chemicals that are now being linked to reproductive and endocrine
problems.

New research has just been published into the effects of glyphosate - one
of the active ingredients in Roundup and other herbicides, showing endocrine
disruption and adverse effects on reproduction.

Given that herbicide-resistant GE crops can absorb much higher levels of
these chemicals than conventional plants, the findings are set to be
another nail in the coffin of the most common type of herbicide-resistant GE
plants.

Last year a study on glufosinate (found in the herbicide Buster) showed
that certain gut bacteria could re-activate the herbicide in the digestive
system. The effects of this are unknown, but glufosinate is a potent
herbicide and toxic effects are known to impact vital organs like the
liver and kidneys, causing digestive and skin reactions.

Research has also linked other forms of GE plants engineered to produce
the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticide toxin, to the deaths of animals
eating the leaves of such GE plants.

As yet, the New Zealand government has not acknowledged the potential
adverse effects that these GE plants would have on our clean green image
and in terms of animal and human health. The Budget has given money to
research and development to take new products to market, but it is important we
focus research on projects that fit with our country's push for sustainability
and shared community values. Such products should not therefore undermine our
trading reputation or environment because of their mis-use of GE technologies.

The process and impending decision by ERMA on GE Brassica field trials,
has uncovered a funding gap that means New Zealand continues to be exposed to
unnecessary risk.

Money is urgently required to fund the development of diagnostic tools and
safety tests for the environment, ecosystems, and human/animal health.
Such research must be undertaken in containment before the known and
unquantified risks from trialling organisms outside the lab can be reasonably and
accurately assessed by authorities.

ENDS
Jon Carapiet 0210 50781

References:
N. Benachour1, H. Sipahutar2, S. Moslemi3, C. Gasnier1, C. Travert1 and G.
E. SÚralini, Time- and Dose-Dependent Effects of Roundup on Human
Embryonic and Placental Cells, Archives of Environmental Contamination and
Toxicology, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007,10.1007/s00244-006-0154-8

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