Like many nonscientists these days, I’ve learned to make well-informed judgments about genetic modification of food crops. I know, first of all, where to find reliable information, distinct from that propagated by the biotech industry.

The sources most to be trusted are the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Institute for Science and Society, the Institute for Responsible Technology and the Center for Food Safety. For many years, these organizations have shared findings of experts in the field, some formerly employed by biotech firms, who warn against biomodification. Here is some of what they tell us:

— Far from being precise, the technology is unpredictable and unstable. UCS points to one documented case of health problems caused by allergenic traits transferred by a Brazil nut gene spliced into soybeans to improve their nutritional value for animal feed. Can it be coincidence that food allergies have skyrocketed during the past two decades, just as GMOs began to be marketed?

— The overuse of Roundup has resulted in millions of acres of farmland now infested with superweeds resistant to the herbicide. With Roundup losing effectiveness, crops are being engineered to tolerate even more toxic compounds, such as 2,4-D and dicamba. Likewise, corn rootworms increasingly are resistant to the Bt insecticide incorporated into some corn varieties.

— The American Public Health Association is among many medical groups condemning the use of GM bovine growth hormone because milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1, which is linked to cancer.

— GM crops, with their associated pesticides, harm birds, insects, marine ecosystems and soil organisms. Pollinators, on which we depend for our food, are being decimated by agricultural and lawn-care chemicals.

— The doctrine called “substantial equivalence,” which guides U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration approval processes, is patently flawed.

For these reasons, I support LD 991, the proposed legislation to remove the trigger clause before Maine’s GM labeling law takes effect. Imposing that condition in the last legislature’s committee debates was a mistake.

Thus I take issue with the April 23 Bangor Daily News editorial, citing an American Association for the Advancement of Science statement implying anyone challenging the central dogma — equivalence of GM and non-GM foods — is not reputable. The editorial’s link to a white paper from Washington State Academy of Sciences also raises troubling questions. Although the authors profess not to take a position on GMO labeling, they can be seen to adhere closely to the biotech industry line.

One issue they raise as having important economic implications for Washington — recent USDA and FDA approval of the J.R. Simplot “Innate” potato for the french fry market, genetically engineered to produce fewer carcinogens when cooked at high temperatures — undoubtedly will be a focus of hot debate in Maine as well.

At its conclusion the BDN editorial unwittingly offers a convincing rationale in support of LD 991.

If only because the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization has named glyphosate, main ingredient of the Monsanto formulation sprayed on Roundup-Ready crops, as “probably carcinogenic” — with liberal residues of Roundup remaining on GM plants and in soil — avoidance of herbicide-tolerant crops arguably is the safest course. Avoidance of crops in which a pesticide is incorporated to repel insects — chiefly Bt corn — is a matter for informed choice, too, and labeling of such foods will accomplish that objective.

I am testifying in favor of LD 991 on Thursday, not solely for the right to know. The experts I trust have convinced me that GMOs pose unacceptable risks for human health and the environment, and identifying them is a step toward rousing the public to reject them altogether. If labeling were to increase costs, it’s a price I’d be willing to pay as a kind of insurance.

Jody Spear is an editor and writer who lives in Harborside.