In some cases, new characteristics introduced intentionally may create toxicity. The Bt toxin as it appears in the bacteria that produce it naturally is considered relatively safe for humans. In these bacteria, the toxin exists in a “protoxin” form, which becomes dangerous to insects only after it has been shortened, or “activated,” in the insect’s digestive system. In contrast, some genetically engineered Bt crops produce the toxin in its activated form, which previously only appeared inside the digestive systems of certain insects. Humans have little experience with exposure to this form of the toxin. Furthermore, in the past humans have had no opportunity or reason to ingest any form of the Bt toxin in large quantities. When the Bt toxin is incorporated into our common foods, we are exposed each time we eat those foods.[6, pgs. 64-65.] And of course, a pesticide engineered into every cell of a food source cannot simply be washed off before a meal.
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