On August 15th a public comment period began on Bayer's (formerly Aventis) petition to the EPA for final tolerances of their herbicide Glufosinate (aka Liberty) for use on rice and cotton. This is the final step in the regulatory process. If their request is approved, GE rice could be planted as soon as 2004. You can read the petition at


 * All comments must be received by September 15th, 2003.

 * Comments may be sent by e-mail to or by mail to:

    Public Information and Records Integrity Branch (PIRIB) (7502C),     Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW 20460

 * In the subject line put: Docket ID Number OPP-2003-0274.


 1) Glufosinate has been classified by the EPA as a "persistent" chemical, and has been found in the edible parts of food, including spinach, wheat, and radishes, more than 120 days after being sprayed with the chemical.

 2) Peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown Glufosinate to be "highly toxic" to wildlife at doses as low as 0.5 ppm. Because rice is grown in an aquatic environment, this chemical poses great risk to the ecosystems of rice growing areas.

 3) Farmers growing transgenic crops are already detecting herbicide resistance in weeds as a result of gene transfer, rendering the herbicides useless. If Bayer's petition is approved, it will only be a matter of time before Red Rice, which is the same species as cultivated rice and also an extremely noxious weed on rice farms, becomes resistant to Glufosinate. Such a gene transfer will lead to a dependence on new, more toxic herbicides.

 4) Farmers are at risk of losing valuable export markets that refuse transgenic crops. Non-GE crops are threatened by genetic contamination, and events such as StarLink and last year's ProdiGene incident highlight the inability of our current system to keep GE crops segregated. The international food standards commission, Codex Alimentarius, has not established Glufosinate tolerance levels.

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The Center for Food Safety is a non-profit organization at the forefront of numerous grassroots campaigns and legal challenges promoting sustainable agriculture, fighting for strong organic food standards, and protecting consumers and the environment from the hazards of genetically engineered foods, pesticide contamination, and mad cow disease.

For more information, please visit or call 1-800-600-6664.