Crop Biotech Update

GM Rice Reduces Pesticide Use and Improves Farmer Health in China, Study

January 21, 2015

Through the analysis of the data collected from the physical examination of Chinese farmers, a study shows that GM rice significantly decreases pesticide use and adverse effects on farmers' neurological, hematological, and electrolyte system. The study is published in Science China Life Sciences journal.

General health and blood examinations of 109 farmers in Fujian province were conducted in 2010. Historical records of the visible effects of pesticide applications were obtained from each farmer. They were also asked specific questions regarding the effects of pesticide use on their health.

Results showed that commercialization of GM rice may reduce pesticide use by more than 2/3. This equals a pesticide reduction of more than 196,000 tons in China per year. The authors indicated that about 8% of rice farmers still suffer from acute pesticide-related poisoning. Thus, the estimated 16 million farmers who suffer acute poisoning illnesses each year can benefit from the use of GM technology and the consequent reduction in pesticide exposure. Hence, the commercialization of GM rice is expected to improve the health of farmers in developing countries, where pesticide application is necessary to mitigate crop loss.

Read the research article at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11427-014-4768-1.