WASHINGTON (October 19, 2000)-The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reaffirmed Thursday that a review of all available scientific information indicates that monarch butterflies are at very little risk from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn products, contrary to widely published reports. EPA further found that In fact, some authors are predicting that the widespread cultivation of Bt crops may have huge benefits for monarch butterfly survival.
Titled Bt Plant-Pesticides Biopesticides Registration Action Document, the effort represents a preliminary draft risk assessment to evaluate the health, safety and environmental risks, as well as benefits of Bt corn, cotton and potato plants. This comprehensive scientific assessment is under review October 18-20 by a peer review with the EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel on the scientific issues in connection with this assessment. According to the EPA, after incorporating peer review and public comments, the agency will use this information to reach decisions regarding renewal of registrations for several Bt products and development of any necessary mitigation measures, if needed.
"This rigorous review of the vast array of scientific information about foods and crops improved through biotechnology refutes once again the claims of anti-biotechnology critics, said Dr. Val Giddings, vice president for food and agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). The assessment confirms the findings of EPA and numerous other regulatory agencies and scientific bodies around the world that crops and food produced through biotechnology pose no adverse health or environmental problems, he added.
The report notes that significant benefits accrue to growers, the public, and the environment from the availability and use of certain Bt plant-pesticides, adding that direct benefits to growers in 1999 likely exceeded $100 million.
BIO represents more than 900 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and more than 27 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
To review the report in its entirety go to: www.epa.gov/scipoly/sap/ and scroll to the following:October 18-20, 2000: Issues pertaining to the Bt plant pesticides Risk and Benefit Assessments
Link to AP news coverage at: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000920/sc/biotech_crops_1.html