Business Insider
Michael Kelley Oct. 3, 2012

pesticides

Genetically engineered (GM) crop technologies are triggering a rise of “superweeds” and hard-to-kill insects that are forcing farmers to use larger amounts of hazardous pesticides, according to a new study reported on by Carey Gillam of Reuters.

The study, titled “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. – the first sixteen years,” found that pesticide use has increased by 404 million pounds from the time GM crops were introduced in 1996 through 2011.

In 1996 Monsanto introduced herbicide-tolerant or “Roundup Ready” soybeans and then rolled out GM corn, cotton and other crops. Roundup Ready and other herbicide-tolerant crops now account for about 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres as well as over 85 percent of corn.

The crops immediately became popular with farmers who found that they could easily kill weed populations without damaging their crops. But over time more than two dozen weed species have become resistant to glyphosate, Roundup’s chief ingredient, causing farmers to increase amounts of glyphosate and other weed-killing chemicals to combat the “superweeds.”

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