Study: Biotech Corn Kills Monarch

Paul Cherubini cherubini at
Wed Aug 23 16:12:03 EDT 2000

Chip Taylor wrote:

> the research to date has not
> really addressed the impact issue and there has been very little money for
> monarch/Bt corn work so far.

According to Monsanto's website on monarchs & Bt corn

"Before approving Bt corn in 1995, the EPA concluded that the
Bt corn does not present any "unreasonable adverse effects" to butterflies.

"Dr. Janet Andersen, director of the EPA's Biopesticides and
Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD), explained that to reach this
conclusion, the EPA evaluated both toxicity and exposure,
which together determine risk."

"The EPA, Andersen said, assumed that Bt corn is toxic to
non-target Lepidoptera, a group of insects that includes butterflies
and moths. However, the EPA determined that exposure of the
monarch larvae to Bt pollen would be limited. This conclusion
was based on the fact that the majority of pollen moves only a
short distance away from cornfields and that exposure of
monarchs would be limited only to larvae developing on milkweeds
within the cornfield or very near to cornfields during pollen shed."

"Since only a portion of the milkweed population is likely to
be exposed to Bt pollen and only a portion of those plants would
be expected to harbor monarch larvae, the EPA scientists concluded
that Bt corn does not present any 3unreasonable adverse
effects to butterflies"

Chip, my understanding is that industry funded over $100,000 worth of
monarch/Bt corn studies last year and has funded many additional
independent studies this summer.

Based on the results of six figures worth of research to date,
Steve Johnson of the EPA told a reporter two days ago:

``we're not seeing any impact on any non-target organism, particularly
 the Monarch butterfly''

Thus the EPA's original assessment in 1995 that Bt corn does not
present any "unreasonable adverse effects to butterflies"
appears to have been correct.

If you disagree, perhaps you could define for us what you consider
to be an "unreasonable adverse effect" ?  What is your risk/impact

Paul Cherubini

More information about the Leps-l mailing list