Did you know this interesting fact: that 41 counties on the Texas High Plains produces 90% of the organic cotton grown in the U.S.? One local farmer is fighting for the right to continue to grow her organic cotton without contamination from herbicides being sprayed on Roundup Ready cotton in other nearby fields.
Why is this important you ask? A large percentage of the public does not understand chemistry or the fate of chemicals in our environment or in our bodies. In all honestly, chemists and environmental toxicologists do not fully know what the ramifications of chemicals will be over an extended time, especially when chemicals interact with other chemicals.
Roundup Ready cotton is bioengineered cotton crop seeds making the cotton tolerant to applications of glyphosate. Glyphosate, the main chemical in Roundup, is considered one of the safest herbicides on the market. The growth of glyphosate in the mid to late 1990s was seen as a positive creation to allow farmers to spray non-selective herbicides onto cotton, corn or soybean crops to achieve weed control without damaging these crops. This foliarly applied herbicide acts by inhibiting the synthesis of aromatic amino acids making it toxic to all green plants and is almost nontoxic to other living organisms. Overall, it is a non-selective herbicide can kill all green plants.
So are chemicals good when even the companies themselves cannot offer answers to questions posed to them? During my graduate training, Monsanto representatives gave a presentation at Texas Tech University. The talk was very informative on how they created the seeds and while I cannot remember the entirety of the presentation what I remember most was the answer to this question: “What is the long-term effects of these seeds in our environment?” The representatives could not offer an answer to that question. The only answer was that it would provide for better corn, soybean and cotton production worldwide in the face of starvation.
While I have no argument with that I believe the fewer chemicals we have in the environment the better our lives will be… Monsanto should not be so controlling with its bioengineering.
In retrospective now when I drive down rural West Texas roads and I see workers out chopping weeds in a cotton field that I am looking at organic cotton not bioengineered cotton and that is the cotton I want to be wearing.