The corn rootworm was found last year on a variety of corn that had been genetically engineered to resist the pest. Panic ensued, and now farmers are using more pesticide than ever. Chemical companies are reporting 50 to 100% increases in sales of corn field specific pesticides over the last two years. This is in spite of scientists urging farmers to simply rotate crops with wheat or beans to starve the invasive pests out.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that 5.1 billion pounds of chemicals are dumped onto agricultural fields every year. One farmer admits that when pesticides were frequent practice (before the genetically modified seeds came into play) it was common for field workers to vomit by midday, and that using them again has made him feel sicker. Studies have shown that pesticide residue can lower children’s IQs and increase occurrences of hyper activity and attention deficit disorder. Another study linked Alzheimer’s disease to pesticides. Exposure to pesticides can sometimes give precursors to obesity in unborn children.
Even though genetically modified crops were designed to reduce pesticide usage, we are spraying more than we have even before the seeds were introduced. Pesticides are found in every tested stream, over 90% of water wells and in the body fat of every person tested. The Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans are exposed to ten or more pesticides every day through diet and drinking water.
Because of this, it is imperative now more than ever to buy organic food as much as possible. It can be more expensive, but so can diseases caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. Buying organic will also help increase demand and move the food economy in the right direction.