Tanzania: Insecticide in Every Cell

BY ANNE OUTWATER

 

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal.

Pesticides are poisons designed to kill a variety of plants and animals such as insects (insecticides), weeds (herbicides), and mold or fungus (fungicides). Last week we talked about herbicides and genetically modified organisms; this week we will consider insecticides.

Herbicide tolerant crops comprise about 80% of all GM plants. The other 20% are corn and cotton varieties that produce insecticide in every cell. This is accomplished due to a gene from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, which produces a natural insect-killing poison called Bt toxin.

For years, even organic farmers and others have sprayed crops with solutions containing natural Bt bacteria as a method of insect control. In Tanzania it has been used by DSM city council as a mosquito larvicide. The toxin creates holes in the stomachs of the victims and kills them. Genetic engineers take the gene that produces the toxin in bacteria and insert it into the DNA of crops so that the plant does the work, not the farmer.

Crops such as Bt cotton produce pesticides inside the plant. This kills or deters insects – but it does so by being embedded into every cell of GMO plants. Corn and cotton: Food and clothing. The Bt-toxin produced in GM crops is “vastly different from the bacterial [Bt-toxins] used in organic and traditional farming and forestry.”7 The plant produced version is designed to be more toxic than natural varieties, and is about 3,000-5,000 times more concentrated than the spray form.

The plants themselves are toxic, and not just to insects. There are many problems associated with the whole environment (including the soil, other animals, food and clothing) being impregnated with toxins in the DNA of every cell. Each cell is being impregnated with poison, and these poisons are being let out as food and clothing.

 

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