Hi Elgin -
Sorry to hear about your negative experience with cotton pesticides and
your land's ecosystem. Glad to hear the land's been able to (slowly) mend.
Below some info/leads for your quest - hope they're useful!
--- LEADS RE: COTTON AND PESTICIDES ----
1) One cotton pesticide is methyl parathion - see attached story on that
2) I'd contact PAN - I'm sure they'd have good info and leads on this
* Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), 116 New Montgomery, #810,
San Francisco, CA 94105. (415) 541-9140. Fax:(415) 541-9253. Email:
email@example.com. Web site: http://www.panna.org/panna/.
3) You might also try these two groups:
* NCAP (Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides), P.O.Box 1393,
Eugene OR 97440 (503) firstname.lastname@example.org. Excellent information
resource on a wide range of pesticide topics. Has periodical.
* ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas). P.O. Box 3657,
Fayetteville AR 72702 (800) 346-9140. A great resource on commercial
4) A possible resource - online newsletter - ORGANIC COTTON MONITOR,
Produced by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP,
5) I recall there being an organic cotton farmers group of some kind.
6) Another resource: Farmer to Farmer, P. O. Box 73674, Davis CA 95617
(916) 756-7428 or (415) 776-8519. They focus more on the positive side
(organic cotton) but could have some info for you. Recent articles on this
"The Cotton is High: In yield, price, and quantity", July 1993. Organic
farm profile. Includes details of their transition plan.
"Betting on Organic Cotton" Nov-Dec 1995. Profile, a couple/cotton farmers
(do both organic and nonorganic fields), marketing strategies. Includes
comparing organic and conventional practices, costs.
7) Two interesting topics around cotton -
a) South Texas voting whether to exit from the Boll Weevil eradication
program, where the pesticides used were blamed for one of the worst crops
in recent memory - destroyed beneficials. (I know some southern group did
decide to exit - may have been this or another one.)
b) Genetically-engineered Bt cotton. One of the many
genetically-engineered crops being moved into production, despite strong
concerns - 1. Do we really know enough to be tinkering with genes,
especially between species, and have confidence we won't be creating DNA
disaster? (Clearly, the lessons of Frankenstein and Jurraisic Park are not
being heeded by the chemical companies....) and 2. In this case, Bt is a
key organic tool - putting it into crops like cotton on a prophylactic
("just in case") basis will likely train the insects' resistance and remove
this vital tool from the toolbox. (Have attached more info on Bt cotton
--- FORWARD INFO - METHYL PARATHION ---
(source Organic Cotton Monitor 12/96)
MISSISSIPPI HOMES ACCIDENTALLY SPRAYED WITH COTTON PESTICIDE
Hundreds of homes in southeastern Mississippi were
accidentally sprayed with the highly toxic cotton
pesticide methyl parathion. Several people have reported
becoming ill after their homes were sprayed by an
unlicensed extermination company. The pesticide stays
toxic for months or years when applied indoors. No
deaths or hospitalizations have been reported.
The exterminator had used methyl parathion as a long-
term pest killer in local Pascagoula homes and
businesses. The co-operators of the firm were arrested
in mid-November on misdemeanor charges of operating an
unlicensed pest-control business, with additional
charges pending. In a statement made after his arrest,
one of the operators commented that "If I had known
[that the chemical was deadly], I wouldn't have sprayed
my house." There is no word yet as to the extent of contamination.
"Some Mississippi Houses Sprayed With Highly Toxic
Cotton Pesticide," MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE, November 21, 1996.
--- FORWARD INFO ON Genetically-engineered Bt cotton ---
(source Organic Cotton Monitor 12/96)
Bollgard cotton users in five southern states were
forced to apply pesticides to their fields despite their
hopes that Monsanto's product would hold up against
bollworm infestation. In an effort to reduce pesticide
use on their fields, farmers had planted 648,000
hectares of Monsanto's Bollgard cotton, genetically
engineered with DNA from the soil microbe Bacillus
thuringiensis to produce toxins poisonous to the
bollworm. Bollgard is billed by the company as a
substitute for using in-season sprays. In some areas,
bollworm levels this year were especially severe,
proving too much for the transgenic cotton to withstand
and thus forcing farmers to spray pesticides.
Monsanto stated that "You can never guarantee 100%
control 100% of the time," and that the cotton "is
performing as well as we expected...this year." The
company claims that only a small portion of the total
acres planted of the product required spraying.
Additionally, Monsanto maintains that bollworm levels in
some areas were higher than they have been in 20 years,
and that testing of Bollgard before release was
conducted at a lower level. The company claims that the
product is probably killing the same proportion of
bollworms as it did during testing but that given the
extremely severe bollworm problem this year, surviving
bollworms are more noticeable. The company also pointed
out that Bollgard is still highly effective against the
tobacco budworm and so farmers who planted Bt cotton are
likely to come out ahead.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has asked the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend sales
of Bollgard cotton. Saying that the bollworms invasion
into Bollgard cotton fields shows that Monsanto's
resistance management plan, which it accepted as a
condition for approval of the product by the EPA, has
failed. The EPA has indicated that they don't see
suspension of Bollgard cotton as necessary, although the
EPA has suspended sales of a new high Bt-producing corn
to states that do not produce cotton, hoping to stem Bt
resistance among migrating pests. The suspension
prohibits sales of the Bt corn, distributed by Northup-
King, in nine southern states and parts of four others.
Farmers who planted Bollgard this year paid a
$79/hectare licensing or "technology" fee for the right
to plant Bollgard. Lest farmers think they might
replant Bollgard cotton seed and recoup their losses
from also having to apply expensive pesticides,
Monsanto is clear in its licensing agreement that the
company "is only licensing growers to use seed
containing the patented Bollgard gene for one crop.
Saving or selling the seed for replanting will violate
the limited license and infringe upon the patent rights
of Monsanto. This may subject you to prosecution under
In a related story, Australian cotton growers threatened
to boycott Monsanto products amid the company's decision
to charge $245 Australian ($196 U.S.)/hectare for its
insect resistant transgenic cotton, Ingard. Growers
protested that the price was two and a half times what
U.S. growers were charged. Monsanto has agreed to
rebate the farmers $25 Australian ($20 U.S.)/hectare if
they have to spray their crops more than twice.
Tim Beardsley, "Picking on Cotton," SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN,
October 1996; Rural Advancement Foundation
International-USA Communique, July/August 1996;
"Monsanto Offers Aussie Growers Rebate on Ingard," DAILY
NEWS RECORD, October 10, 1996.
---------- FORWARD (includes info Bt corn/cotton) ----------
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 1996 14:35:17 -0400
From: GROUP PRESS 202-260-4355 <PRESS@epamail.epa.gov>
To: Multiple recipients of list <email@example.com>
Subject: EPA ISSUES FULL COMMERCIAL USE OF FIELD CORN PLANT PEST.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 1996
EPA ISSUES CONDITIONAL APPROVAL FOR FULL COMMERCIAL USE
OF FIELD CORN PLANT-PESTICIDE TARGETING THE EUROPEAN CORN BORER
EPA has approved the full commercial use of a new plant-
pesticide to combat insect damage in field corn. The
plant-pesticide is "Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) CryIA(b)
delta-endotoxin and the genetic material necessary for
its production in corn." The primary pest to be
controlled is the European corn borer. This action allows
full commercial use of Northrup King's Bt corn, subject
to certain use restrictions in cotton states and cotton-
growing areas. The restrictions are designed to reduce a
possible developed resistance to Bt by the corn earworm.
Corn earworm resistance could reduce the effectiveness of
Bt cotton and Bt foliar sprays on vegetables and other
crops. EPA's registration is based on a thorough
examination of scientific data to ensure human health and
the environment are protected. The registration is
limited to commercial field corn which is primarily used
in animal feed. Northrup King, Golden Valley, Minn., is
the registrant and developer of the corn-plant pesticide.
The plant-pesticide is a truncated version of the
naturally occurring Bt endotoxin. Very small quantities
of the insecticidal protein are produced by the corn
plant. The insecticidal protein is nontoxic to mammals,
birds and most other insects. The use of this product is
expected to reduce the use of more toxic pesticides used
to control insects on corn plants. Last year, EPA
approved the first commercial use of Bacillus
thuringiensis plant pesticides. The following crop
plants were approved in 1995 and are in use: Bt corn
(two companies, Ciba Seeds and Mycogen Plant Sciences);
Bt potatoes (Monsanto Co.) and Bt cotton (Monsanto Co.).
The plant-pesticide developed by Northrup King differs
from previously-approved Bt corn products in its genetic
composition and in the levels of the pesticide that are
expressed in different parts of the corn plant.
THIS INFORMATION PROVIDED BY: Patricia Dines
Specializing in educating and empowering citizen action on toxics and their
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