Published: August 8, 2020

Category: The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

Ten-billion dollar settlement over Roundup (glyphosate) cancer lawsuit? A $400 million settlement over dicamba (XtendiMax) damage?

You’d think those figures would give pause to an herbicide developer, but Bayer is unfazed—instead, it’s aggressively pursuing approval for a new GM corn variety resistant to five different herbicides, including the two already implicated. And the company stands proudly behind Roundup and XtendiMax.

“[Bayer has not] back[ed] off from a production system that is going to lock farmers into a chemical-intensive business model,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, with the Pesticide Action Network.

The new variety MON 87429 can withstand glyphosate, dicamba, 2,4-D, quizalofop, and glufosinate. Bayer has requested “nonregulated” status; the corn will probably be approved and commercially available in the late 2020s.

Bill Freese of Center for Food Safety says the industry move toward multi-herbicide-resistance isn’t surprising, but is an “extremely troubling trend” leading to more intensive herbicide use and more resistant weeds. Quizalofop has been linked to reproductive cancers and liver toxicity, glufosinate to damaged organs, and 2,4-D to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and thyroid disorders.

Glyphosate use has increased 15-fold since the 1990s, and dicamba use doubled from 2016 to 2017. Impacts of synergistic combinations of these chemicals are unknown, and difficult to measure.

Iowa organic farmer Rob Faux summed it up: “They’re not trying to provide more tools for the farmer. They’re just trying to capture market. And unfortunately, some of that market they’ll capture is by causing people to plant these seeds defensively.”

Source: Civil Eats

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