What are the possible consequences of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed plant pesticide rule? The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), an international consortium of 36 scientific and professional societies, released an issue paper, The Proposed EPA Plant Pesticide Rule, in which a CAST panel of five members of the National Academy of Sciences discusses this proposal. In 1996 and 1997, two reports were published in which eleven professional scientific societies and an advisory panel of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO representing over 550 companies and affiliated organizations) discussed the issues relative to the EPA proposal. The CAST panel formed in 1998 was charged with examining the scientific merits of the differing viewpoints based solely on scientific principles.
What is the Proposal?
Under statutes developed for chemicals applied externally to plants, the EPA proposes to regulate genetically engineered plants containing genes for pest resistance that have been introduced by techniques of recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA). Plants with such genes would be designated pesticides.
Scientists View Proposal as Indefensible
The CAST panel members, as well as other scientists, say designation of plants as pesticides is indefensible on scientific grounds for the following reasons.
Scientists Foresee Serious Economic Consequences
If the EPA rules go into effect, the CAST panel foresees the likelihood of serious economic consequences in the food industry.
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