You may have heard lately that there is a major effort to reduce Americans' addiction to genetically-modified (GM) foods, which can have an adverse impact on public health and the environment that is still somewhat unclear. What is clear is that most corn, soy and cotton crops are GM, and the consequences of this widespread adoption may become more acute as time goes on.
The main reason that the agriculture industry has switched to GM crops is that they are more resistant to herbicides and pesticides, so farmer's can grow more consistently and with higher yields than before. On the one hand, this has obvious benefits for consumers: foods are cheaper, especially meat derived from animals that were fed GM corn. Snacks made from processed corn and soy products cost much less and prices become more stable, with less fluctuations due to poor seasons and failed plantings.
But because these plants are more resistant to poisons, farmers will use more chemicals to make sure pests and weeds leave their crops alone. Those chemicals pose a threat both to people who eat produce from those fields, and to local water supplies as rainfall and irrigation carry the chemical runoff into the local water supply. This can have a major impact on local wildlife, and there is even some evidence that it is affecting honey bee populations, which are instrumental in pollinating crops.
The controversy with GM foods is ongoing, so LifeIsGreen.com will continue to bring you updates on this and other green living issues.