Re: SOC/BIO: US Consumers Favor GM Crops That Reduce Pesticide Use

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 08:52:43 MST

On Mon, 17 Jan 2000 wrote:

> At least with topical pesticides you can wash them off, but if they are
> built into the cells of the plant you can't help consuming them.

The problem is that the complete biochemical profile of most of
our food crops (esp. the many varieties) is poorly known. They
have a hard enough time with the 200+ chemicals in coffee alone.
The *average* consumer still doesn't understand (a) the natural
carcinogenicity of their food & drink consumption; (b) whether
there is a linear dose response or a threshold above which things
are dangerous; and (c) the variability of the detoxification genes
in individuals (that for example in some individuals make some
of the compounds in cigarette smoke *more* carcinogenic!).

Getting public education up to this level is a goal to move towards.
If you had public service anouncements in just these three areas
it would at least get people "thinking" about this stuff.

> I know plants produce their own natural pesticides, but people will not
> support engineering them to produce extra ones that they must consume.
Here again it is an education problem. The Bt toxin, to my knowledge
has been shown to be innocuous to human biochemistry. Anyone know
otherwise? Similary with roundup. Sure, if you consume kg of these
substances they might be harmful, but so is water in similar quantities.

But, generally, I would agree. In wealthy contries, they would support
"mega"-vitamin vegetables (so they don't have to purchase the 1-a-days)
a lot more than they would support increased yields/cheaper food prices.


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