GM Crops Linked to Rise in Herbicide and Pesticide Use

Pesticide and herbicide use on genetically modified (GM) crops in the U.S. has risen markedly over the past eight years, surpassing the concentration of agrochemicals sprayed on conventional crops, according to an analysis of U.S. government data. This research appears to blow a hole in one of the primary arguments in favor of GM crops — that they benefit the environment because they require fewer chemical inputs. Charles Benbrook, head of the Northwest Science and Environment Policy Center and author of the report, found that GM crops were sprayed with fewer agrochemicals in the first three years of cultivation, but significantly more in ensuing years. Critics of the report claim that fluctuations in chemical use are a result of varying seasonal conditions and changes in the agrochemicals market.