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Bad Science: Congress Passes Measure Okaying Mycoherbicide Testing, But Limits It to US Labs

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #465)
Politics & Advocacy

As part of last Friday's passage of the reauthorization bill for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Congress authorized the testing of mycoherbicides -- toxic, fungal plant killers -- for use against illicit drug crops in Latin America. But in what the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) called a "significant reform," the legislation was modified to restrict testing to laboratories in the United States.

fusarium-ravaged grain demonstrates the danger
The brainchild of drug warriors Reps. Mark Souder (R-IN) and Dan Burton (R-IN), the measure passed the House in July 2005. Thanks to the efforts of Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Joe Biden (D-DE), it was attached to the ONDCP bill and passed last week.

As DRCNet reported earlier this year, government agencies are not jumping on the mycoherbicide bandwagon. Agencies including the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture, the State Department, the CIA and even the DEA, have rejected the idea as dangerous for health and the environment as well as likely to meet with resistant strains of poppy and coca against which it would be ineffective.

DPA began organizing against the measure this spring, and when it got fast-tracked this month, drug reform groups including DRCNet, DPA and others raised the alarm. "This a huge victory because it means the people and environment of Latin America will be protected," a DPA bulletin noted. "We have you to thank for this reform because so many of you called Congress asking for the provision to be changed."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

But what will happen if these biological weapons are approved after the testing in the laboratories? Kiss goodbye forests in Latin America. Now it is time for politicians in the backyard of the US, specially Colombia, to make clear those mycoherbicides will never be allowed to be used, so drug war zealots shouldn`t even worry in testing them.

Fri, 12/15/2006 - 1:00pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

It is a victory that the congress limited the test only in laboratories. Still I say it must be baned for it is very dagerous.

Fri, 12/15/2006 - 2:03pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Bad science; It's mad science! Has Washington gone completely insane? I can remember the 1970's paraquat odium. During that period several people that I had known, including myself who had smoked yellowish marijuana had come down with immediate respratory distress. Within a day most had contracted pneumonia. luckily none died, but how many suffered or died unnecessarily. I can't prove paraquat poisoning, but to my knowledge not one of us was ever made sick from smoking marijuana either before or since that incident. So are we going to let them play Russian roulette with the lives and livelyhoods of us and others again? This and future dangerous distructive atrocities must be stopped immediately, for ever! According to the article and in my opinion this is an ill conceived plan that may well prove to do more harm than any imagined good. Please write your representatives in Washington and let your opinion be known.

Sun, 12/17/2006 - 3:05am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

So John Waters wants to "ruin" Afghanistan" and Congress wants to ruin Latin America. Will someone please point out the REAL TERRORISTS!
Why not try the 3-R's, Reality-Regulation-Revenue. Sorry, I seem to have forgotten Congress has no common sense.

Semper Fidelis

Mon, 12/18/2006 - 3:41pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi All,
Mycoherbicides have been used in Florida since 1981. A product called Devine (concentrated Phytophthora Palmivora) has been used in citrus groves since then. Even though it is now causing problems in citrus fruit it is still used.

Many mycoherbicides have been developed for all kinds of plants. I believe the current spate of tree die-back is connected to them.

I think it is a shame that mycoherbicides have been caught up in an argument between dope-heads and right-wingers.

They are here - they are being used and ,along "mycoinsecticides", are killing the planet.

P.S If I was a drugs baron I would be hoping they would use mycoherbicides - I would simply spray fungicide.


Sun, 09/23/2007 - 2:07pm Permalink

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