Seeds of Doubt

by Project Censored

Despite nearly 400,000 petition signatures from concerned citizen, health professionals and farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans, created by the biotech company Dow Agrosciences, that will tolerate the use of a new weed killer also engineered by Dow Agrosciences called Enlist Duo, which contains two known herbicides: 2, 4-D a component of the toxic Agent Orange herbicide used during the Vietnam War and glyphosate aka Roundup by Monsanto. The farmers are now able to spray their crops with either 2, 4-D or glyphosate or both to eliminate weeds without doing damage to the soybeans or corn. Serious health risks such as a the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, suppressed immune function, and cancer were ignored by USDA.

Research shows that there are almost 500 elementary schools within 200 feet of soybean and corn fields that are sprayed with toxic weed killers. Children are most susceptible to toxins and will face a great health risk by being exposed to toxic herbicides. Additionally, gardeners, farmers, and wildlife will all suffer from the use of Enlist Duo. Moreover, the increased use of weed killers triggers an epidemic of resistant superweeds. Superweeds infest roughly 70 million acres of U.S. farmland. Not to mention that corn is pollinated by wind, which makes contamination of non-GE corn inevitable. The only winners will be the corporations that control the pesticide and seed economy.


Pantsios, Anastasia. “USDA Approves Controversial GMO Corn and Soy » EcoWatch.”  EcoWatch, 18 Sept. 2014.

Kustlin, Mary Ellen. “Elementary School Students At Increased Pesticide Risk.” Environmental Working Group, 14 Aug. 2014.

Benachour, Nora, and Gilles_Eric Seralini. “Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells.” – Chemical Research in Toxicology (ACS Publications)., 04 Nov. 2014.


Bertheau, Yves. “6. Long-Distance Pollen Flow in Large Fragmented Landscapes.” Long-Distance Pollen Flow in Large Fragmented Landscapes., 02 Oct. 2012..


“Center for Food Safety | Issues | GE Food Labeling | GE Foods.” Center for Food Safety, 04 Nov. 2014.


“Cross-fertilization between Genetically Modified and Non-genetically Modified Maize Crops in Uruguay.” Cambridge Journals Online. Cambridge University Press, 25 Mar. 2011.;jsessionid=2E7882971BD3AF2E6E78CA2F43803FD.journals?aid=8358104&fileId=S163579221100100X

Huq, Chaumtoli. “New York Law School.” Law at the Margins. 22 Sept. 2013.


Specter, Michael. “Vandana Shiva’s Crusade Against Genetically Modified Crops.” The New Yorker. 25 Aug. 2014.

Spiroux De VendĂ´mois, JoĂ«l, François Roullier, Dominique Cellier, and Gilles-Eric SĂ©ralini. “A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health.” IJBS Current RSS, 03 Nov. 2014.

Student Researcher: Stephanie Santiago, Indian River State College

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Indian River State College

Ethics Alert

There is a monstrous crime going on against seeds. Changing the DNA of a seed to be tolerant against herbicides, resistant against viruses and insects, creates problematic environmental challenges. It is estimated that over 80% of our food contains GMOs. Most of all US corn, soy, canola, rice, sugar beets, alfalfa, squash etc. is genetically modified. One of the main concerns about GMO’s is the toxicity of the chemical herbicides and pesticides that the plants are engineered to withstand. The use of these toxic chemicals has created pest resistant crops and the emergence of “superweeds” and “superbugs” that forces farmers to use even more increasingly toxic chemicals to control these new types of pests. Bees, butterflies and birds that function as pollinators are extremely endangered by those agriculture technique. There has been a drastic decline of pollinators all over the world.

Another great concern about GMOs and toxic herbicides and pesticides is the potential health risk to animals and humans, especially children. A study published in Chemical Research and Toxicology shows the dangerous health effects of pesticides and how these chemicals are able to kill human cells, especially placental, umbilical cord and embryonic cells. Furthermore glyphosate has been linked to many other health risks including, ADHD, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, rhinitis, and cancer. Research done on lab rats that were fed a diet of GM foods found higher levels of certain fats, changes in kidneys, liver and blood chemistry and changes in the weight of the adrenals, uteruses and testicles. Another study showed lesions in the rat’s stomach that were very similar to precancerous stages that develop into malignant tumors.

Superweeds, superbugs, and health risks to humans and animals are not the only concerns related to GMO crops and toxic herbicides and pesticides. There is also the worry about cross-pollination that contaminates regular crops. The pollen of GM crops travel a lot further than initially expected and keeping the distance greater between farms did not have the results that were hoped for. GMO’s are ending up in many places that were uncounted for. According to the Center for Food Safety, the impact on the environment from GMOs will include an “uncontrolled biological pollution, threatening numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction, and a potential contamination of all non-genetically engineered life forms with novel and possibly hazardous genetic material.” As you can see, the problem created by GMOs is considerably larger than initially thought.

Proponents of genetic engineering in food embrace the promises that the big corporations, the government, and agribusinesses make, like the claim that GMOs are more nutritious because of a higher mineral and vitamin content, or the claim that GMO crops are resistant to pests, which, in turn, would reduce the use of pesticide chemicals, which would then result in a more efficient production and higher yields. Furthermore, the assertion that GMOs would provide a sustainable way to feed the hungry in countries suffering from famine because of the longer shelf life that GMOs provide would make it possible to send those crops to more remote areas of the world. The most important statement, however, that GMO supporters make is the claim that GMOs pose no risk to human health or the environment. We have already provided enough evidence to show that these claims are false. The only winners are the big corporations who monopolize the world’s food supply.

The use of GMOs and toxic chemicals also raises ethical challenges. Does science serve corporate interests and not the public good? According to Professor Huq, “instead of making accurate statements on the safety of GMO foods, and demanding integrity and ethics in research, the Scientific American and other professional scientific organizations seem to be advocating for GMO crops. In the GMO debate, while the fate of people, their health, and environment are at stake, so are the ethics, credibility and integrity of scientific research.” Another concern about the involvement of government, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank , which makes the trust in GMOs diminish even further, is expressed by Vandana Shiva.  She states, “by engineering, patenting, and transforming seeds into costly packets of intellectual property, multinational corporations such as Monsanto, with considerable assistance from the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United States government, and even philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are attempting to impose “food totalitarianism” on the world. She describes the fight against agricultural biotechnology as a global war against a few giant seed companies on behalf of the billions of farmers who depend on what they themselves grow to survive. Shiva contends that nothing less than the future of humanity rides on the outcome.” There are legitimate concerns about the possible dangers and hazards to both the environment and to humans, but the real risk about GMOs lies in the danger that we cannot yet anticipate. Profit seeking corporations mislead us and use us as tools to grow profits. Are we as a society willing to accept this?