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No, GM crops aren't drenched in chemicals


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#21 A Rebel and a Runner

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:34 AM

But poison isn't poison. 

 

Chocolate is poison to dogs.  It's not to people.

 

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, it poisonous to weeds.  It's not to people.

 

Bt toxin, the insecticide in some GMO crops, is poisonous to some insect larvae.  It's not to people.

I feel like anyone who's discussing "toxins" or "poisons" or "chemicals" should be required to learn what things like "LD50" means, and the entire "dosage-based toxicity" paradigm that surrounds dangerous substances.


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#22 fast eddie

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 05:39 AM

I've heard chocolate is poison to dogs, wonder how that works??? I kinda doubt it, bet it's folklore...the fact that something will kill at a certain dose(LD50) is only a small part of the issue of poisons or toxins or threats to the environment...miniscule amounts can sometimes cause problems over time, and what's considered safe today may prove in the future to be less so or even highly detrimental...we used to prescribe mercury, and designed lead cups and water pipelines...
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#23 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 08:47 AM

I've heard chocolate is poison to dogs, wonder how that works??? I kinda doubt it, bet it's folklore...the fact that something will kill at a certain dose(LD50) is only a small part of the issue of poisons or toxins or threats to the environment...miniscule amounts can sometimes cause problems over time, and what's considered safe today may prove in the future to be less so or even highly detrimental...we used to prescribe mercury, and designed lead cups and water pipelines...

 

In large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill your dog. The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.


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#24 Always the Winner

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 11:32 AM

Yep. Your dog eats chocolate and it's an emergency trip to the vet. Then he's gotta puke it all out.

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#25 SJS

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 01:48 PM

I've heard chocolate is poison to dogs, wonder how that works??? I kinda doubt it, bet it's folklore...the fact that something will kill at a certain dose(LD50) is only a small part of the issue of poisons or toxins or threats to the environment...miniscule amounts can sometimes cause problems over time, and what's considered safe today may prove in the future to be less so or even highly detrimental...we used to prescribe mercury, and designed lead cups and water pipelines...

 

Jesus eddie, don't feed your dog chocolate to test out your theory.

 

Here's more news for you: 

 

Xylitol, the sweetener in my favorite sugarless gum, is poisonous to dogs.  It is completely harmless to humans (and may have some benefits).  In dogs and other non-primate mammals, it causes insulin shock and can quickly lead to death.  Dogs don't chew gum (although many dogs will eat anything that falls on the floor, so be careful), but unfortunately xylitol is now being added to other products that dog-owners sometimes do feed their dogs (like peanut butter).

 

Dogs, people, weeds, and insect larvae are all related to one another evolutionarily, but they are, you know, actually different.  The list of things that are okay for one species to eat and deadly for another species to eat is pretty damn long. 


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#26 SJS

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:08 PM

I feel like anyone who's discussing "toxins" or "poisons" or "chemicals" should be required to learn what things like "LD50" means, and the entire "dosage-based toxicity" paradigm that surrounds dangerous substances.

 

And this of course is another huge consideration.  (What follows is stuff Reb knows, so this is for others.)

 

There are some pesticides which do affect both humans and insect pests.  My favorite example is rotenone, because it is made naturally by plants, and since it is "natural" it can be used by organic farms and gardens and the crops may still be labeled "organic".  (Many people think organic produce has no pesticides on them, but they are often grown with natural pesticides.)  Although rotenone use is becoming rarer due to its effects on humans, it was used on home gardens for a long time and may still be in some parts of the world.

 

So imagine rotenone is sprayed on a vegetable garden.  The LD50 for rats is about 400 mg/kg, and this is about the same value for humans as well (in estimate of course).  I don't know what it might be for insects, they may well be more susceptible, but lets presume the same dosage.

 

A gardener sprays his garden with the stuff, heavily diluted in water.  The mist is blown by the air, some of it settles on the plant.  With each watering of the garden and each rain, some of the rotenone is washed away.  Eventually, and insect larva takes a bite out of the leaf, and even though there's just a tiny bit of residue on there, it's a larva, so it only weighs 0.00001 kg, meaning it only has to consume about 4 micrograms to die (a microgram is 1/1000th of a gram, which is a very small unit of measure). 

 

So, dead bugs.  Anyway, the garden continues to grow.  Watering happens.  Rain happens.  Pesticides are usually applied when plants are first growing, not close to the harvest.  Then the vegetables are picked and washed, and eaten by a human.  By this time it is hard to believe much of the rotenone is left at all except in such trace amounts that even the insect larva wouldn't die, but certainly not in the amounts needed to kill a human.  After all, most humans are about 50 kg, and so would require 20 g for the lethal dose.  (This would be a pile of chemical you could see with the naked eye, filling more than a tablespoon, totally undiluted.)

 

Of course this is an oversimplification and there are other factors, but in many cases even pesticides that are potentially dangerous to humans are simply not dangerous to humans under normal eating conditions.

 

Now - rotenone on crops is still a horrible idea.  Many better non-natural (synthetic) alternatives exist and should be used.  The fact that organic farms will use the stuff just to keep the organic label despite the increased odds of harm is just one reason I hate the organic label.  But I don't fear eating organic produce for this reason.  I do fear for the farm workers who spray rotenone, though, as they may be exposed to higher concentrations in more-dangerous routes of administration (inhalation can often be worse than oral consumption).


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#27 scott14

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:13 PM

Can't we just agree that consuming and dousing our yards in unnatural chemicals probably isn't the best idea?  And just because something isn't toxic to humans in small doses doesn't mean it's right to wreak havoc on the rest of the eco-system.



#28 MrSkeptic

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:14 PM

I've heard chocolate is poison to dogs, wonder how that works??? I kinda doubt it, bet it's folklore...the fact that something will kill at a certain dose(LD50) is only a small part of the issue of poisons or toxins or threats to the environment...miniscule amounts can sometimes cause problems over time, and what's considered safe today may prove in the future to be less so or even highly detrimental...we used to prescribe mercury, and designed lead cups and water pipelines...

 

So, as with mercury and lead, if the herbicide in use today is eventually found to be unsafe for humans, it will be discontinued and probably made illegal. That's how the scientific process works. Now if you believe otherwise or have anecdotal evidence...


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#29 SJS

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 03:12 PM

Can't we just agree that consuming and dousing our yards in unnatural chemicals probably isn't the best idea?  And just because something isn't toxic to humans in small doses doesn't mean it's right to wreak havoc on the rest of the eco-system.

 

I'm not a big fan of the word "unnatural" here, as I've already given an excellent example of a natural chemical that is considerably worse to use than many unnatural ones.  Why people insist on making that distinction is beyond me.  Indeed, anyone familiar with evolutionary theory would realize that many natural chemicals have the benefit of hundreds of millions of years of natural selection to become as dangerous as possible, whereas synthetic chemicals can be designed to be targeted.

 

I'm not a big fan of the word "chemical" here, as Slim has already given an excellent example of a chemical we absolutely should be dousing our yards and gardens with (namely, water).  Proper soil management may require other chemicals as well - nutrients are chemicals. 

 

Those caveats out of the way, you're quite right that safety to humans is only one issue.  What is put on the farm (or garden) may not stay on the farm; an insecticide that saves a crop may be blown to a neighboring location and affect butterflies.  Fertilizer that nourishes a crop may runoff into streams and pollute a waterway.

 

With regard to the first problem, GMOs are a savior.  The ability to put, for example, Bt toxin into the plant itself limits the actions of the insecticide to the farmland.  Organic farmers who spray Bt (and organic farmers do spray Bt, as Bt is a natural insecticide and is a favorite of organic growers) run the risk of affecting the neighboring ecosystem.

 

GMOs may also be a savior for the second.  The development of crops that can survive with less nitrogen would reduce the use of fertilizer and therefore runoff.  Meanwhile, organic farms that use natural fertilizer - manure - by the truckload, are a major polluter, increase the possibility of disease, and require far more resources (e.g., fossil-fuels) to implement their fertilization program.

 

So yes, "we can all agree", but in doing so we are making the case for GM crops.


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#30 Pariah Dawg

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 03:20 PM


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#31 RushDoggie

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 03:56 PM

I think S14 is maybe a chain yanker...but I can't tell.


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#32 scott14

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 05:17 PM

No, not really a chain yanker, although I do enjoy a little debate and playing the occasional devil's advocate.  I just really believe that the damage we've inflicted upon the planet over the past century is reaching a tipping point.  Some would say we've already passed the point of no return.  In either case, mankind as a whole shows no signs of letting up with the environmental abuses.



#33 SJS

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 06:06 PM

No, not really a chain yanker, although I do enjoy a little debate and playing the occasional devil's advocate.  I just really believe that the damage we've inflicted upon the planet over the past century is reaching a tipping point.  Some would say we've already passed the point of no return.  In either case, mankind as a whole shows no signs of letting up with the environmental abuses.

 

No one can tell if we've reached a tipping point.  If we have, it doesn't matter what we do.  If we haven't, it matters what we do.  Since we don't know, we should do the best we can given what we do know.

 

And what we do know is that GM technology is an incredibly powerful tool to feed more people with fewer resources, at lower cost, with bigger benefits to poorer farmers, and with less damage to the environment.


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#34 fast eddie

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 04:47 AM

You sound like a "shill"...maybe you're overstating the case... I dunno, but the technology has scary potential, sorta like AI fears that folks have, nano tech, too...one of these days, the human animal might just outsmart itself...maybe we already have...
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#35 Always the Winner

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 04:55 AM

Face it eddie. Sooner or later you WILL be smoking Monsanto joints.
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#36 fast eddie

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 05:32 AM

only if they insert LSD or Ayahuaska or Psilicybin or some such...GAAAHHH, what am I sayin'!?! Never,never,never!!! Monsanto BAD!!!
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#37 A Rebel and a Runner

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 06:01 AM

You sound like a "shill"

I've encountered this one before.
Someone who doesn't have an irrational hatred of the things you hate is a "shill."


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#38 SJS

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 10:04 AM

You sound like a "shill"...maybe you're overstating the case... I dunno, but the technology has scary potential, sorta like AI fears that folks have, nano tech, too...one of these days, the human animal might just outsmart itself...maybe we already have...


Meaning someone is paying me to post this argument on the CP message board? That's plausible?
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#39 SJS

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 11:46 AM

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#40 RushDoggie

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 04:24 PM

Meaning someone is paying me to post this argument on the CP message board? That's plausible?

 

Shhhhh. Those checks are a secret, man!


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