Corn plants genetically modified (GM) to produce pesticides in their tissues are contaminating water supplies across the US Midwest, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
The study was conducted on corn engineered to carry a gene from the Bacillus thuriengensis (Bt) bacteria that produces an insecticidal protein, Cry1Ab. The researchers tested 217 Indiana streams for traces of Cry1Ab, and pesticide the chemical in 13 percent of them. Every contaminated stream was within 500 meters (1,600 feet) of a corn field.
In the Midwestern “Corn Belt” states of Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, 90 percent of streams and rivers are within 500 meters of a corn field. This amounts to 159,000 miles worth of waterways at risk from Bt corn contamination.