New factsheet shows such claims ignore use of neonic seed treatments; in fact insecticide use has skyrocketed since introduction of GM Bt crops
Claims by GMO proponents and US government agencies that insecticide use has dropped due to GM Bt insecticidal crops are false, a new factsheet by the Center for Food Safety shows.
This is because such claims ignore the fact that a high proportion of crop seeds is now treated with highly toxic neonicotinoid insecticides. This leaves a gaping hole in the pesticide data, and greatly underestimates harm to the environment.
The planting of seeds coated with a neonic or other pesticides (such as fungicides), is not considered to be a pesticide application by the US EPA, unlike pesticides sprayed on a crop.
A recent paper from Penn State University (see GMWatch report here) filled the knowledge gap. And it was a huge gap. For example, the USDA claimed that the area of corn treated with insecticides had gone down to about 12 percent, due largely to Bt traits. In fact, the area treated due to previously unmeasured seed coatings is between 80 and 100 percent of corn acreage.
According to the the Center for Food Safety factsheet, research shows that neonic seed coatings usually are not needed and are not cost effective.