‘EPA Must Stop This Experiment’: Billions of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Set for Release

2
3313

Jessica Corbett

 

CommonDreams.org – Environmental and public health advocates responded with alarm after the Biden administration on Monday gave a British biotechnology company a green light to unleash billions of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the United States.

“GE mosquitoes could result in far more health and environmental problems than they would solve.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted Oxitec an experimental use permit that could lead to the release of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes in four California counties and extend a widely criticized program in Florida’s Monroe County.

While the release is intended to investigate whether the GE mosquito can reduce the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—which carry various viruses—the species is not common in California and there are no reported cases of the targeted diseases.

“This experiment is unnecessary and even dangerous, as there are no locally acquired cases of dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, or Zika in California,” declared Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety.

Oxitec’s altered male mosquitoes are supposed to pass on a gene that causes their offspring to die before reaching maturity. However, a peer-reviewed study published in September 2019 by Yale University researchers showed that releasing the GE mosquitoes in Brazil not only failed to reduce populations of Aedes aegypti but also resulted in hybrid mosquitoes.

“Releasing billions of GE mosquitoes makes it likely that female GE mosquitoes will get out and create hybrid mosquitoes that are more virulent and aggressive,” Hanson said. “Other public health strategies, including the use of Wolbachia infected mosquitoes, could better control the Aedes aegypti in California and Florida.”

Dana Perls, food and technology program manager at Friends of the Earth, also noted the findings and warned that “GE mosquitoes could result in far more health and environmental problems than they would solve.”

“EPA needs to do a real review of potential risks and stop ignoring widespread opposition in the communities where releases will happen,” asserted Perls, a California resident.

Fellow California resident Dr. Robert Gould, president of San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility, emphasized that “once released into the environment, genetically engineered mosquitoes cannot be recalled.”

“Rather than forge ahead with an unregulated open-air genetic experiment, we need precautionary action, transparent data, and appropriate risk assessments,” he said.

As a joint statement from Gould, Perls, and Hanson’s groups highlighted:

The EPA did not publicly release any data from Oxitec field trials in Florida or Brazil and key information about health effects, including allergenicity and toxicity, was redacted from the company’s application for a permit. EPA did not require key scientific assessments, including an endangered species assessment, public health impact analysis, or caged trials ahead of any environmental release. The EPA declined to convene a scientific advisory panel as it does for other new pesticides.

The groups and other local organizations were outraged last spring when Oxitec introduced GE mosquitoes in Florida, the first release of its kind in the United States. Shortly before the launch, Friends of the Earth had called on the EPA to “halt this nightmare immediately.”

Source: CommonDreams.org

SOURCECommonDreams.org

ATTENTION READERS
Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT's independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy

2 COMMENTS

  1. In the spring when the grass gets going, spray garlic juice a few times being sure it goes on for a day or two before any rain. People simply want mosquitoes gone, and none of this is about disease. Here, the claim was one horse tested positive for west nile, so they authorized spraying permethrin all up and down the valley over large swaths of wetlands. We work to protect the wetlands because when they drained them all, there was a massive loss of all types of creatures, which leads to collapse of ecosystem. Permethrin kills reptiles and amphibians as well as essential worms. GM mosquitoes is Dumb, Permethrin is Dumb. grow up and live with mosquitoes. spray the yard with garlic juice.

Comments are closed.