Study: Biotech Corn Kills Monarch

Clay Taylor CTaylor at
Wed Aug 23 15:57:51 EDT 2000

Paul - Given your well-documented cynicism about how much money is actually
utilized in environmental studies and conservation efforts Vs. the total
amount raised for that purpose (the rest going into the pockets of the
researchers), how much of that $100,000 spent by "the industry" actually
went into the field studies?  In light of the potential gains "the industry"
stands to make from such a study, only spending $100K seems to be a pretty
small investment.  How thorough were their methods in investigating the
differences you point out between laboratory Vs. field testing of Monarchs
and Bt corn?

Clay Taylor
Moodus, CT
-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Cherubini <cherubini at>
To: leps-l at <leps-l at>
Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2000 3:25 PM
Subject: Re: Study: Biotech Corn Kills Monarch

>Chip Taylor wrote:
>> the research to date has not
>> really addressed the impact issue and there has been very little money
>> 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