Letter: GM pollution peril
Monday 24 May 1999
Sir: Your leader of 21 May agrees with the Prime Minister that decisions about GM crops should be "based on science", stating that we might consider approval when "the balance of scientific opinion is that they are safe." This is misleading and dangerous: science and scientists are fallible and may have vested interests. There is no reason to exclude the lay public from
I don't want decisions about the future of the environment to rest on whether a field study of monarch butterflies was properly peer-reviewed - there is far too much at stake. Changes in genotypes will potentially last tens or hundreds of millions of years, and production may be on hold for one! The risk evaluations being discussed publicly are woefully inadequate.
Even the more restricted topic of human health is unnerving. New drugs go through a three- or four-stage evaluation lasting between eight and 15 years and costing hundreds of millions of dollars; they are administered in small amounts; purity and other technical details are strictly regulated; and only a relatively small proportion of the population takes them. Yet not every new drug proves to be safe in the long term.
By contrast, GM products are not subject to the huge expense of clinical trials; they will potentially be consumed by the kilogram; they are not produced in highly regulated labs but in the field; and their manufacturers wish to capture substantially all of the country's food market.
Why put ourselves at such terrible risk when saner alternatives are readily available? I suspect the answer has more to do with lobby groups and the need for healthy profit margins than concern about all our futures.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
- 4 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
Star Trek 3 to begin shooting within six months
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Robin Thicke’s hit 'Blurred Lines' lands him in court, and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly