A former senior scientist from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been speaking out against GMOs, but his voice is especially noteworthy among the many scientists who talk about genetically modified organisms. Why? Because he studied the impacts of altered crops on the environment. Read on to find out what this expert has to say about a genetically modified world and the ‘pesticide treadmill’ that biotech has us all running on.
Dr. Ramon Seidler’s credentials are nothing to sneeze at. He was a professor of microbiology at Oregon State University for 16 years before he worked at the EPA. He holds many honors, too, including being listed by the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England as one of the 2,000 outstanding World Scientists of the 20th Century.
During Seidler’s tenure at the EPA, he (along with other scientists) conducted GMO experiments that were contained in indoor environments. The experiments were meant to mimic what happens outside, just as if a farmer had planted a GM crop in Idaho, Michigan, or California. The gene transfer capabilities and survival rates of genetically modified seed were observed. He also observed transgenic DNA and Bt toxin products in agricultural ecosystems.
What he and his scientific peers found was that GE bacteria survived for years in soil, even after it was removed from the plants.
The former professor states that GE crops provide no significant increase in crop yields, but do pose several other major concerns: namely cross-pollination of non-GM species, and negative impacts to the environment. He calls these ‘side effects’ of broken biotech promises.
He also points out that one-third of the world already has the choice to ‘opt-out’ of GMOs because their food is labeled, and though Americans overwhelmingly want GM foods to be labeled, they are not.
As other scientists have pointed out, Seidler mentions the fact that very little true research has been conducted by independent scientists at any American universities. Biotech has restricted these studies by requesting that professors sign an agreement prior to the research being completed which forces them to send all results to the biotech companies before being published – ostensibly – to be vetted and discounted should it paint their GM seed in any negative light.
The former scientist says this is nothing short of censorship, and individuals who have conducted years of research are unable to publish their findings in any reputable journals because biotech would simply veto the results.
Seidler also details how the biotechnology industry has parroted the claim that “pesticide use has declined’ since they introduced GMOs, but he states this is absolutely untrue. He commented:
“Initially, insecticide use declined due to the effectiveness of Bt toxin in controlling pest insects. However, as time went on glyphosate use increased some 13-fold to control weeds and other non-genetically engineered synthetic chemicals were introduced to control insects as the Bt toxin became ineffective.
Glyphosate has been extensively applied to hundreds of millions of acres of genetically engineered crops, and the residues are in our air, water, and human bodies.
Now virtually all of genetically engineered seeds are coated with insecticides and fungicides and these chemicals have increased some 10-fold in the last 10 years.
When seed coated pesticides are added to those pesticides that are injected into the soil at seed planting, pesticide use climbed back to where it was approximately 10-12 years ago.”
This ‘pesticide treadmill’ as Seidler has dubbed it, has all of us sick, and our soil contaminated.
To read more about a former EPA’s stance on GMOs, read the entire interview here.
This article originally appeared at Natural Society.