Bt toxin in GM crops kills non-target species
by Ethan A. Huff
March 5, 2012
A new study out of Switzerland confirms once again that Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin, the nefarious pesticide produced by certain genetically-modified (GM) crops, is harming non-target species. Published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, the study reveals that two-spotted ladybird (Adalia bipunctata L.) larvae exposed to Bt toxin experience a much higher mortality rate than those not exposed (1).
Contrary to repeated claims made by Monsanto and other biotechnology industry players about the supposed safety of Bt toxin for non-target species, this new independent study reveals otherwise. It also exposes the illegitimacy of the various industry-funded studies that claim Bt toxin is safe for non-target species, including humans, an unfounded claim that has been proven false time and time again.
The new research, conducted by Dr. Angelika Hilbeck and her colleagues from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, was actually a follow-up to previous research on ladybird larvae and Bt toxin conducted back in 2009. Pro-GM talking heads had tried, but failed, to discredit this earlier research, which was published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (2)
Independent research consistently demonstrates dangers of GMOs
But Dr. Hilbeck’s new study, which was not funded by the pro-GM lobby, confirmed the findings of the 2009 study. And in the interest of promoting sound science, she and various others who recognize the very real dangers associated with GM crops, and Bt toxin in particular, are now calling out those who continue to deny reality by insisting that Bt toxin is safe.
“It is time to move beyond the rather ‘dogmatic denial’ and ‘shooting the messenger’ stages of the debate and onto the more mature stage of scientific discourse where a meaningful examination of scientific ‘surprises’ dominates the discussion,” said David Gee, a senior science adviser on science, policy, and emerging issues to the European Environmental Agency (EAE) recently.
The EAE, of course, has formed many of its GMO policies based on flawed, industry-funded GMO studies. So Gee and others are urging the agency to begin looking at independent research on GMOs, which tells a far different story than the one being peddled by the likes of Monsanto and the pro-GM American government.
“We do not need biosafety research embedded in the visions of the biotechnology industry that supports unsustainable industrialized agriculture,” added Professor Brian Wynne from the U.K. Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics at Lancaster University. “Instead, we need independent research like Hilbeck’s which assesses the specific environmental effects of genetic engineering, uses sensitive methodologies and helps indicate the potentially damaging effects on biodiversity as well as on agricultural diversity, of the industrial production systems which GM agriculture only intensifies.”
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