Are GMO crops improving children’s IQ?

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[Danny Hakim’s October 29th article in the New York Times appears to suggest] that planting GMO crops has 1) lead to increased reliance on pesticides similar to those used by the Nazi’s, 2) those pesticides have caused a remarkable drop in our children’s intelligence….

But the truth of the matter is exactly the opposite. The “one class of insecticides” that Mr. Hakim refers to … is the organophosphate group of insecticides. This group of insecticides is generally acknowledged to be relatively toxic compared to many other types of pesticides. But GMO crops (Bt crops in particular) have reduced the use of this class of insecticides. Before widespread adoption of Bt corn, over 12 million pounds of organophosphate insecticides were being sprayed annually…. By 2014… organophosphate insecticide use had dropped by 98% ….opcorn-1-1024x585

[T]here is strong evidence that nearly all types of insecticides have decreased as Bt crops have been adopted in every country where GMOs have been allowed to be planted.

Contrary to my post title, I’m not going to try and claim that adoption of GMO crops has increased childrens’ IQ. But I find Mr. Hakim’s implication that the opposite has occurred to be completely without merit.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Could GMO corn be responsible for increasing childrens’ IQ?

  • Z Richington

    “reduced the use of this class of insecticides” Exactly, they just switched to pesticide grown right inside the corn! Who thought it was a great idea to grow poison right inside the food we eat? Look how food allergies have risen! This has been proven the reason the bees are dying. These GMO advocates want poison in all the foods. Some people are so smart but have zero common sense!

    • Exadyne

      First, I hope you realize that Bt Toxin is used in organic farming.
      Second, I hope you realize when it is, it is actually injected into the crops, not just sprayed on, so saying putting it right into the corn applies to both.
      Third, I hope you realize the cry-protein that is Bt Toxin is not really a poison to humans. The mechanism that causes Bt Toxin to affect insects relies on an alkaline/basic environment which many insects have in their digestive tract. In comparison, I hope you know that human stomachs are highly acidic. Such proteins are broken down quickly and the ability to cause allergies are highly unlikely because they’re down to amino acids before they meet any kind of intestinal immune system.
      Fourth, Colony Collapse Disorder affects bees in regions that do not have Bt crops.

      • morphd

        I love to eat dog poison – aka chocolate!

    • Jesse Rockwell

      People like you are why we have higher education, please read a book and get off the internet Richington.

    • Robert Howd

      There is an increase in diagnosed allergies over the last couple of decades, which appears to be associated with societal transitions, including industrialization. This has occurred around the world, including Europe and Asia, where GMO foods are not consumed. See: A global survey of changing patterns of food allergy burden in children. Prescott SL, Pawankar R, Allen KJ, et al. World Allergy Organ J. 2013 Dec 4;6(1):21.

    • Jim Gordon

      You have neither smarts or common sense.

      • Z Richington

        That, or your incredible hubris thinking growing poison in food is perfectly safe, with no long term studies ever conducted…

        • Jim Gordon

          Studies are done before release of each seed. MANY long term generational studies have been conducted, in every case there are no negative findings: http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2012/10/24/a-survey-of-long-term-gm-food-studies/
          You were suckered by activist propaganda secretly funded by the organic foods industry in a 3 decade long campaign: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Markets/The-organic-food-industry-has-been-engaged-in-a-multi-decade-public-disinformation-campaign-claims-report?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright

        • Jim Gordon

          Since Bt is a natural defense also used on organic crops and is only dangerous to pests, and since you now know there are in fact many long term studies, what witch hunt will you adopt next?

          • Z Richington

            It is not used in non-gmo organic farming… Organic farming suffers from genetic pollution, which leads to bt in organic crops, but it is illegal for organic farming to us Bt strands, monsanto owns the patient and has sued many organic farms out of business because of genetic polution…

          • Jim Gordon

            Multiple lies and ignorant untruths in your comment. You lose by default.

          • Z Richington

            you win, you continue eating the “safe” pesticide(poison) containing food, and I won’t because i lose. Just remember when you have cancer, that it wasn’t the poison you have been eating, because the company that created the poison said it was safe, in a study where they only tested these foods for a couple of weeks

          • Jim Gordon

            We all have a risk for cancer but it absolutely positively has no connection to field strength glyphosate or any other GMO. I just provided you with a link to many long term studies directly below.

            It is your willful ignorance that keeps you from learning even here at ground zero for genetic literacy. We can lead a horse to water but we can’t make it drink. Enjoy your witch hunt and don’t forget to sharpen that pitchfork.

          • Exadyne

            Outside of some rather harsh things like smoking, cancer might be more about what you don’t ingest rather than what you do. Fearmongering of pesticides (which organic uses pesticides too, just not synthetic) may actually be leading people towards more cancer by discouraging eating fruits and vegetables. This can lead to genotoxic effects by lack of nutrition – low folic acid can lead to chromosomal more certainly than pesticide residues found in typical foods.

          • Z Richington
          • Jim Gordon
          • Larkin Curtis Hannah

            While not an organic farmer, I know that dipel is used by organic growers and it is simply dried up cells of the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (note the BT initials). These cells, used by organic growers, contain the same protein that is expressed in BT transgenic plants. Hence, organic folks do use BT. Monsanto does not have a patent on these cells; they simply have a patent on the use of the BT gene (actually there are several) in plants. Also, please provide a list of organic growers who have been sued by Monsanto for patent infringement.

            thank you,

          • Exadyne

            Bt Toxin can be used in organic farming. They can’t use Bt traited corn, but they use the Bt Toxin itself. Organic’s standards tend to be that a chemical used has to be natural rather than synthetic, and the Bt term comes from Bacillus thuringiensis, a soil bacteria that makes cry proteins that deter insects.

  • Good4U

    Good article, but it should be expanded to include the similar decrease in levels of carbamate insecticides that have been observed since the deployment of Bt cry-protein crops. In addition, both organophosphate and carbamate insecticides are general neurotoxins to most insects, including all pollinators, so the steep reductions in their usage certainly has been of great relief to the natural ecosystem surrounding agricultural areas. A related point, in rebuttal to those who might speciously claim Bt cry-protein to be of some concern to bees, it is useful to keep in mind that Bt toxin kills only the insects that eat plants which contain it. Since bees and other pollinators don’t eat plants, they are not affected by Bt toxin.

    • Candice H. Brown Elliott

      Ummmm… do bees eat meat then? I’m not going to argue that Bt plants are bad… but I do feel that such statements as “bees and other pollinators don’t eat plants” to be either dead wrong or misleading. Bees eat pollen, which most certainly is plant.

      • Good4U

        Bees don’t eat pollen of any Bt GMO crop plants (corn, cotton).. Conversely, bees do eat pollen from many “organic” crops that are sprayed with Bt insecticides. So, apparently it’s you who is dead wrong or misleading.

  • Robert Howd

    The increase in IQs correlates better with decreasing lead exposure, with a greater mechanistic rationale.

  • Martin Axe

    “Are GMO crops improving children’s IQ?” This is a genuine Fake News headline right here ………folks.