I think it is naive to increase the contaminant loading on soil microbial
constituents and the progenitor constituents in the food chain."
You have that backwards. Bacteria are much more likely to evolve
mechanisms to metabolize these substances than to lose that ability.
Bacteria metabolize things not as a favour to us but because they are
able to extract energy and/or nutrients from the material they are
metabolizing. While we may view glyphosate residues as a
contaminant, to a bacteria capable of metabolizing glyphosate, it is no
more a contaminant than added compost or mulch would be.
The journals-with-a-cause don't get sued out of existance as a result of
printing lies. They don't have to print lies. There is enough truth and
suspicion out there to scare the bejabbers out of enough folks to keep
these journals in business for a long time. Nearly anything is possible in
nature, so the government and the chem companies can't refute
concerns about what might happen.
The same is true of the very vocal concerns being raised about
genetic engineering. As I've said before, nature is a big genetic
engineering experiment, uncontrolled by anyone (except, perhaps,
natural selection). I read last night that 10 percent of the human genome
might be transgenic -- imported over the last 3 or 4 million years by
retroviruses -- so our genome, and that of virtually every other organism,
is already transgenic. The problem with pre-licensing research for GE
products as for pesticides is that only immediate, acute effects are
revealed. The product _may_ be very benign, but no one really knows
right now and industry needs to recoup its research investment right
away while patent protection is still in place, so government weighs the
risks on our behalf and says "yea" or "nay" (admittedly under intense
lobbying at times).
Still, I'm happy to see the skeptics question new technologies and force
the government and business to be a bit more cautious than might
otherwise be the case. I think this kind of pressure has helped make
the current generation of pesticides less malignant (in terms of acute
toxicity, target specificity and persistence) than those of the 50's and
60's; in my view, that is a step in the right direction. Similarly, the
response to the proposed organic rules showed the power of public
opinion to sway preconceived (and heavily-lobbied) government
positions around to a bit more reasonable stance.
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