Extract from an article
Biocides and GM crops – the answer to world food shortage, but at what cost?
To inform of the dangers in the use of GM crops and biocides in agriculture
Research and interviews with industry experts
However, biocides not only remain as residues on treated food, but also travel in global airways sometimes as far as 40km, and in waterways. In Australia, even the most dangerous Persistent Organic Pesticides (POPs) like Aldrin, Chlordane, DDT and Dieldrin have been assigned the Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s (FSANZ) Maximum Residue Limits (MRIs), which indicates an awareness of their persistent presence.
These POPs continue to occur in our food supply, even if sometimes only in the AU$180 million of fresh food Australia imports annually. Of this, the FSANZ is only funded to test a relatively insignificant 10% (1).
It is an undisputed fact that all human beings carry POPs in their bodies (2). These have been shown to cause serious health problems from cancers through endocrine disruption to birth defects. Other species have also not escaped these toxins as they concentrate in higher-order consumers in the food chain. For example, some large fish have been caught with such huge concentrations of POPs that they have, according to the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), qualified as toxic waste under US regulations (2).
Today, consumers can access information on the dangers of pesticides thanks to large organizations such as PAN, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Biological Farmers Association (BFA). These bodies work to collect data on the adverse health and environmental impacts of dangerous chemicals. The data is collected in an effort to rid the world of these harmful chemicals, and to promote farming that is sustainable and that observes the rights and sovereignty of farming communities worldwide.
These organizations have their roots in the 1960s when Rachel Carson’s (1962) Silent Spring, sounded the alarm against dangerous chemicals in US agriculture. The book led to the banning of DDT and Dieldrin and the establishment, in 1970, of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA then spawned many similar agencies all around the globe.