Nashville, Tennessee (TFC)— The Zika virus’ spread has catalyzed a massive industry boom for big-biotechnology. It’s an industry making bank off manufacturing poison, and even mutants. Interestingly, it’s latest mosquitocide comes along with a study guaranteeing it’s eco-friendly.
“We’re essentially preventing mosquitoes from producing urine”, says Vanderbilt pharmacologist Jerod Denton, Ph.D. According to Science Daily, the pesticide–VU041–was developed to transcend the insect’s adaptive prowess. Denton joined colleagues in an evaluation of its possible ecological impacts.
Concerns over VU041 largely stem from Zika pesticides having already decimated honey bee populations. Shortly following initial 2016 sprays, bird flocks were reported as having dropped from the sky dead. This occurred in a different state, however, and no cause was determined. It’s noteworthy due to Zika spraying having occurred in several states besides Florida.
Despite insisting bees are safe, Dr. Denton and company gave few specifics. Their study simply states that adult bees aren’t lethally affected. VU041, according to the study, didn’t cause “significant mortality” to honey bees. So it’s not that VU041 doesn’t kill bee’s, it just doesn’t kill that many. Possible damage to larva, or other disruptions, aren’t mentioned.
Denton’s confidence, however, didn’t deter his recommendation for “additional safety testing” before distributing VU041. No potential for other dangers, such as defects, are mentioned.
Additionally, the study does not appear to take into account the potential for spray drift. Granted, VU041 hasn’t yet been adapted for spray distribution. However, an extensive history of augmented pesticides unintentionally drifting should highlight this concern.
Mammals are noted as not being targeted by VU041, easing fears of human deaths. When reading the study itself, however, that seems like less than a guarantee. More so, VU041 doesn’t appear to target mammals in any overt way. Birds, reptiles, fish, and other beneficial insects aren’t referenced.
However, death isn’t the only check on a lengthy list of possible downsides. What about a disease which may not kill, but deteriorate daily life? Are there consequences to VU041 use which may lay dormant for a generation, or two? To date, little to no data regarding these concerns exist for VU041 insecticides.
–The Pest Dilemma–
Pest control effectiveness is directly contingent on the target’s ability to gradually adapt. It’s a fact which nourished a budding Genetically Modified Food (GMO) industry in the 1980’s. Food producers found themselves using increasingly larger yields of more potent toxins. Now, once weaponized Agent Orange is sprayed in some parts of America. If the rule holds true, then even more potent poisons will eventually be needed.
This also eventually leads to some projects getting more “creative”. Among such exotic idea’s were once GMO’s which produce their own pesticide. Though an intriguing venture, what happens when a human eats it? It is essentially a poisonous plant after all.
Zika continues this trend of creating exotic preventive measures for pests and weeds. The tropical virus spreads through a very specific species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Among other things, Zika is thought to influence microcephalic head deformation in babies.
South American scientists, however, feel deformities are caused by Zika pesticides. When Florida’s spraying arrived, protesters quickly organized opposition. Many reported rashes, headaches, and other ailments they pinned to pesticide.
Concerns went largely ignored by politicians, and researchers supportive of big biotech. Unfortunately–and obviously–this will continue so long as the public majority remains unaware. That’s the state of things with the biotech industrial complex.
It’s an industry exponentiating its profits off nature’s ability to strive for survival. Is that a sustainable business model when you’re job is experimental disease control?
Due to VU041’s recent development, possible customers for the toxin are undetermined.