BtCorn Toxins May Harm Stream Ecosystems


A study funded by the National Science Foundation suggests that Bt corn- a genetically-modified corn engineered to express a bacterial toxin which is poisonous to corn borers – may damage the ecology of streams draining Bt corn fields in ways that have not been previously considered. The study indicated that, when plant parts get carried away by streams draining agricultural lands, toxins from Bt corn may reach long distances in streams and may harm stream insects that serve as food for fish.

These issues have not been evaluated by the EPA prior to licensing the use of Bt corn, as their evaluation studies assumed that plant parts would remain in fields without being carried away by streams and the impacts of Bt corn were tested only on small lake organisms that are typically used to test the impacts of chemicals on aquatic ecosystems.


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