Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Generational Consequences of GMOs

Today is my second day of exploring GMO and world hunger, as part of Conducive Chronicle’s 21 days for Hunger.   GMO food has been used as a solution for world hunger, but I will discuss some of the problems of this approach.

When the DNA of a plant or organism has been changed, it has become genetically modified organism, or a GMO.  Small or even tiny changes in a plant's genetic structure can have a significant impact on its properties.  That may not seem like a big deal for plants, or even animals, but when it comes to humans, the stakes get a little higher.  Just the slightest change in our DNA can have can have disastrous effects and chromosomal anomalies like Down Syndrome or Fragile X Syndrome.

The most common foods GMO foods consumed in North America are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oil. So what does it mean to us if we eat genetically modified food?  What does the altered DNA of a plant or animal do to our own DNA?  What are the long-term effects?

There have been numerous studies that have indicated that consuming genetically modified foods is risky at best.  I will call out a few of them but any Internet search may yield some unpleasantly surprising and numerous results.

Lower fertility rates, sterilization and higher infant mortality rates.
Earlier this year, Russian researchers found that GMO food reduced fertility and even caused sterilization in second and third generations of hamsters.  That's pretty disturbing when you think about what kind of implications that may have for humans.  But that's not the worst part.  Some very odd characteristics began to emerge after exposure to genetically modified food.

"Another surprise was discovered by scientists in hamsters of the third generation. Hair grew in the mouth of the animals that took part in the experiment. It’s unclear why this happened. The researchers cannot understand why a programme of destruction is launched when animals take GMO foodstuffs. They say that this can be neutralized only by stopping to eat these foods. "

After this study, the Russian scientists suggested imposing a ban on genetically modified foods, as did their counterparts in France and Austria.

In addition, Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette has called out 65 GMO-related health risks including:
• Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce
• Male mice fed GM soy had damaged young sperm cells
• The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice had altered DNA functioning
• Several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed on GM corn varieties
• Investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products

Increase in "syndrome" diseases like Fibromyalgia.
In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called for a moratorium on genetically modified foods.
"Multiple animal studies have shown that GM foods cause damage to various organ systems in the body. With this mounting evidence, it is imperative to have a moratorium on GM foods for the safety of our patients' and the public's health," said Dr. Amy Dean, PR chair and Board Member of AAEM. "Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions," said Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM.

Increased Incidences of the "Four A's":  Allergies, Asthma, Autism and ADD -- especially in children.
In an article on a USDA website, Raymond Brandl makes a connection between food allergies and genetically modified food:
"I’ve discovered that one out of every three U.S. kids currently suffers from allergies, asthma, ADHD, or autism and that the number of children with peanut allergies actually doubled between 1997 to 2002."
Interesting statistic-- especially since GMOs made their way onto our food scene in 1996.  Coincidence?  Maybe not.  The evidence of the negative impact of GMOs on our long-term health and well-being is mounting.

The Say No to GMOs website lists a host of scientific studies-- all of which strongly indicate that consuming genetically modified foods is just not good for us.  Period.  Most of them conclude that the human body does not fully digest the proteins or bacteria in the genetically modified foods.  And some suggest that the altered combinations of DNA in food can cause new pathogens which can wreak havoc on our immune and digestive systems.

Next up:  How to Avoid the GMO Bad Nasties

21 Days for World Hunger
Day 1
Day 2 Focus on Hunger: Interview with Vandana Shiva
Day 3 Cambodia: Portrait of Hunger
Day 4 A Mindful Approach to Food Fosters Compassion for the World's Hungry
Day 5 How Does Mindful Farming Help Solve World Hunger
Day 6 Sustainable Vegan Farming Practices Empower the World's Hungry
Day 7 Food Deserts and Urban Farm Markets
Day 8 Vandana Shiva and the Navdanya Farmers Network
Day 9 World Hunger: From GMO Chemistry Set to Table?
Day 10 The Generational Consequences of GMOs
Consider purchasing a World Hunger: Be the Solution Tee.  Proceeds from the shirt will go to Navdanya, the Small Planet Institute Fund the International Fund for Africa.  All tees are sweat free and available in organic cotton. To see the selection of World Hunger tees at Conducive’s Humanitarian & Human Rights Tee store, click here.

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