The claim that GMOs reduce pesticide use — a main selling point — should be abandoned by the industry that is gobbling up dramatic pesticide sales growth in response to hardy plant pests rapidly adopting and developing resistance to genetically modified crops.
The European Commission recently said it will ban three neonicotinoids for the next two years citing “acute high risks” to bees associated with this pesticide. The EPA only recommends more tests.
Reactions to EPA’s refusal to suspend the registration of clothianidin, given the mounting scientific evidence that this systemic poison poses an imminent hazard to bees, have been strong and unequivocal.
The EPA went to great lengths to reject a citizen petition seeking to suspend the use of a systemic pesticide that scientific studies link to massive bee die-offs. What happened?
This past November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report cited “severe efficacy issues” with Monsanto’s Bt corn after multiple states reported “unexpected pest damage.”
While evidence of the detrimental impact of systemic pesticides mounts, many beekeepers and independent scientists wonder why U.S. regulators have not suspended or banned their use.
Is glyphosate a critical tool to control weeds or a cancer-causing health and an environmental menace? The U.S. and Canadian governments plan to re-evaluate the safety of glyphosate.
While massive bee die offs have been occurring for more than half a decade, the connection between colony collapse disorder and pesticides, particularly serious concern about systemic pesticides, has been downplayed by the EPA and the industry.
A bill that waters down EPA protections of the Clean Water Act is recommended for consideration by the House as a whole. This is one of several Republican sponsored bills aimed at reducing EPA powers.
While environmental issues have taken a back seat to economy all over the country, industry groups and their defenders in Congress are using this time to advance an agenda designed to erode many successful laws, such as Clean Water Act.
EPA has announced plans to place additional limitations on the use of three N-methyl carbamate pesticides – carbaryl, carbofuran and methomyl – to protect endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. The decision comes after manufacturers of the chemicals diazinon, malathion and chlorpyrifos refused to adopt the limits voluntarily.
Industry bias, lax scientific standards, exemption of food crops containing pesticides from registration requirements, and failure to independently monitor GM crops after approval, are among the regulatory problems exhibited by the EPA when it comes to regulating GMOs.
The United States government consistently promotes its regulatory framework for genetically engineered organisms as comprehensive and strict. Is this a public relations maneuver, wishful thinking or the story of the emperor without clothes?
TSCA provides the EPA with authority to regulate chemical substances which may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment during manufacture, processing, distribution in commerce, use, or disposal. TSCA applies to uses of substances that are not specifically covered by another statute, i.e., TSCA does not apply to pesticides, food, drugs or cosmetics. TSCA is therefore a “catch-all” or “gap-filler” statute.
In the case of herbicide-tolerant crops, EPA establishes tolerances for the allowable amount of herbicide residues that may remain on the crop.
EPA uses its authority under FIFRA to regulate plant incorporated protectants, or substances produced to control pests, both, to ensure that the production of such a pesticide in plants is safe for the environment, and to establish allowable levels of the pesticide in the food supply.
Any substance produced and used in a living plant, whether through conventional breeding or genetic modification is regulated by the EPA if it is intended to control pests. As such, the EPA has a role in regulating the several types of genetically modified organisms.
Presently, it is questionable whether the genetically engineered foods are adequately controlled and/or regulated under U.S. law. There is no single federal statute or federal agency that governs the subject matter. Three federal agencies are primarily responsible for the regulation of genetically engineered foods – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).