If you’ve turned on your TV in Washington over the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard countless commercials for Initiative 522.
The ballot measure proposes to label genetically modified foods sold in the state. But behind all the campaign rhetoric, some scientists have raised environmental questions about genetically modified crops.
And those researchers have reached differing conclusions about the crops’ effect on the environment.
GMOs could be bad for the environment
On one side of the issue, a study found that genetically modified crops cause farmers to spray more herbicides.
Many genetically modified crops –- like corn, cotton, and soybeans -– are engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. They’re known asRoundup Ready crops. That means farmers can spray glyphosate to kill weeds and their crops won’t be affected. The problem, say some researchers: weeds are becoming resistant to glyphosate.
Charles Benbrook studies GM crops and herbicide resistance atWashington State University. He said glyphosate-resistant weeds are causing farmers to use older herbicides.