Modified Genes

Genetically Modified Foods and Their Impact on the World

Herbicides

Several pesticides and herbicides are used in conjunction with GMO’s, but the most common is known commercially as Round-Up.

Most genetically modified corn is engineered in such a way which allows heavy amounts of Monsanto’s herbicide round-up to be sprayed on them. This is achieved by inserting genes from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis into the corn genome, thus creating what is called ‘Round-Up Ready crops.’

Round-Up’s active ingredient glyphosate, was declared a ‘probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015 (1). A recent court ruling also declared that Monsanto acted with “malice” by not disclosing the known dangers of their products and that their products “substantially” contribute to cancer. (2)

Other herbicides are used with GMO’s as well, including Dow’s ‘Enlist Duo’, which Environmental Working Group calls “an extraordinarily potent weed-killer designed to kill the new generation of so-called ‘super weeds’ which have adapted to withstand blasts of Monsanto’s popular weed-killer RoundUp.” (3)

Enlist Duo contains two herbicides, Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), and glyphosate. It is considerably more toxic than glyphosate on its own and is typically used to fight the ‘super weeds‘ which have gained immunity from glyphosate due to frequent use.

2,4-D is a component of Vietnam-era Agent Orange which still exists in the environment and continues to cause birth defects to this day. It was developed in 1946 by Monsanto and its dangers have long been known.

According to the USDA, use of Enlist Due will have nearly tripled by 2020 nationwide.

Sources:

(1) USA Today: “Roundup a ‘probable carcinogen,’ WHO report says”

(2) Phillip Schneider: Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million in Historic Glyphosate-Cancer Case

(3) Environmental Working Group: “2,4-D Herbicide & GMO Crops”

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