Resistant weeds said threat to U.S. crops

Feb. 4, 2013 at 6:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A U.S. health advocacy group Monday urged limiting the use of herbicides on genetically engineered crops, saying the technology is unsustainable.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to limit use of glyphosate and adopt other measures to slow the spread of resistant weeds.

Overuse of the herbicide, sold as Roundup and under other brand names, has resulted in the evolution of resistant weeds threatening the long-term sustainability of corn, soybeans, canola and other crops genetically engineered to tolerate glyphosate, the group said in a release.

Since farmers are encountering more and more resistant weeds that aren't killed by glyphosate, they have turned to more harmful herbicides, negating much of the technology's benefit, the group said.

It's up to the EPA, which regulates the herbicides sprayed on engineered crops, to limit farmers' use of glyphosate, especially in geographic areas where resistant weeds are becoming a problem, it said.

"It's not in farmers' or the biotechnology industry's short-term financial interest to adopt these measures on their own, so the EPA should use its authority to protect glyphosate's effectiveness," CSPI biotechnology director Gregory Jaffe said. "Otherwise, the industry might squander this very valuable benefit of genetically engineered crops."

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