Bt cotton causing allergic reaction in MP; cattle dead (23/11/2005)

It's impossible to know at this point how reliable these reports of skin problems from Madhya Pradesh are, but they're unlikely to be any less reliable than those to be found in articles such as 'Swadeshi Bt seeds help Gujarat raise cotton production eight-fold'!!!!!

Bt cotton causing allergic reaction in MP; cattle dead
Bhopal, Nov 23 2005

Genetically-modified Bt Cotton, used for farming in Madhya Pradesh's Nimad region, is causing allergic ailments among people even as cattle have reportedly perished after consuming its seeds.

The disturbing fact surfaced recently at a public hearing organised by Dhar district's Krishi Upaj Mandi. As per a scientist's report, presented during the hearing, at least 14 milch animals perished and several cultivators fill ill.

It was alleged that use of the seeds led to a rise in cases of skin diseases.

On the other hand, state Director (Agriculture) L P Patel expressed ignorance over the news but assured that the government would order an inquiry if  ''such incidents actually occurred''.

''Those gathering, lifting and even touching the cotton were suffering from victims of allergy. Mr Amulya Nidhi, who is undertaking a study in Dhar and Badwani districts, mentioned complaints of allergy,'' said social activist Ashish Gupta who was present at the hearing.

Farmers' skin turned red, swelling occurred, eyes reddened and breathlessness was experienced. Some victims suffered a burning sensation in the eyes, watering, itching, swelling of eyelashes, sneezing and running noses.

Presenting Mr Nidhi's report of four villages within Dhar and Badwani districts, Dr Gupta claimed that the former chanced upon 23 patients, including ten severe cases, who suffered symptoms within about five hours of touching the cotton.

''The study revealed that persons who covered their body parts remained unaffected. Bhura Bai of Dhar district's Khaparkheda village said that her entire family was severely hit, while handling the crop, and had to be hospitalised. A poisonous bacterial gene was introduced in the cotton and is killing caterpillars,'' he added.


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