Letter writer: Long-term studies of GMOs needed before they can be considered safe

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I am writing to counter the view that genetically modified organisms are safe.

Safety has to be proven with long-term studies. GMOs have not been around long enough to evaluate the long-term effects on humans. That is why GMOs are mostly considered unsafe in Europe because the Treaty on European Union (1993) made precaution a guiding principle of EU environmental policy, and additionally, there is overwhelming public support for the labeling of foods which have been genetically modified.

Here  in the United States, the opposite is true. GMOs are assumed safe because short-term studies support that assumption. Our legal system says products have to be proven unsafe before they are pulled off the market. DDT is a good example of the danger of short-term studies. Mainstream science considered DDT to be safe until it was proven to be unsafe.

Liberal-minded people are actually conservative when it comes to food safety. We say that long-term studies of GMOs need to be done before they can be considered safe.  Assuming that GMOs are safe is an experiment with the American people’s long-term health.

GMO plants  are not “substantially equivalent” to the non-GMO plants.That is why GMOs are considered intellectual property, whereas natural plants are not.

Arguing that the anti-GMO movement is funded by the billion-dollar natural-foods industry is bogus simply because it is also true that the pro-GMO movement is heavily funded by the conventional food industry. Raising fear about the cost of labeling causing chaos, the conventional food industry is using the same “fear-mongering” strategy that the organic food industry is accused of.

I am a plain, independent citizen who is only concerned about the safety of my long-term health as it relates to GMOs. We need long-term studies for GMOs because of the intrinsic limitations of scientific knowledge before we unleash them on people and the environment.

— Rebecca Casey
Swannanoa

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14 thoughts on “Letter writer: Long-term studies of GMOs needed before they can be considered safe

    • Mark Donner

      “GMO’s” have been around for centuries. False propaganda. They have not. Hybridization and splicing are not even remotely similar to the insert of alien genes in a lab. GMO’s are environment and health destroying poisons marketed for profit and greedy control of the world’s food supply.

  1. Mark Donner

    GMO and its associated lethal pesticides and herbicides are dangerous poisons. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, “developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four …months in males, and seven months for females.” The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Everywhere GMO is being grown, food allergies, disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others have been skyrocketing in the human populations.

    There has been a drastic decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and what this means for the future of the world’s food supply. Wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing. GMO industrial agricultural practices are causing this insect genocide. Pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. That lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects means less fruits and destruction of the diversity of plants and their fruits worldwide.

    GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

    GMOs increase herbicide use. Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―surviving deadly weed killers. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

    GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

    By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

    GMOs do NOT increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.

    Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

    The toxins associated with GMO should never be tolerated. NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDE neurotoxins are absolutely the main factor causing the collapse of bee and pollinator populations along with other lethal chemicals, Agent Orange herbicides, glysophate, etc. When these poisons are banned as they were in Europe the bee populations start to recover. GMO neonicotinoids, roundup etc. MUST BE BANNED OUTRIGHT and all the farmers along with USDA, Biotech and chemical companies told to cease and desist from what they are doing.

    An even scarier prospect: the “BT” version of GMO soybeans and corn, (basically pesticides engineered directly into the plant )

    The “BT toxin” gene is put into the DNA of the corn in order for it to manufacture its own toxins that kill pests. The BT gene originated from a soil bacteria that also infiltrates the microflora (friendly digestive bacteria) in your gut. The Bt gene converts the microflora in your intestine into toxin-manufacturing machines.

    So, to be clear, eating GMO corn products can cause your gut (which is primarily responsible for keeping you healthy) to turn into a breeding ground for tiny little pesticide factories inside your body, actively creating toxins which are designed to kill living things. These toxins are found in the blood and are readily transferred across the placenta to developing babies in the womb.

    • Mark Donner

      the “genetic literacy project” is an arm of the US based biotech mafia’s propaganda department. Wager is a known Monsanto shill who stalks every blog where an issue causes the profits of Monsanto to be at stake. If you like propaganda and brainwashing visit the “genetic literacy project” joke.

    • Llayla

      Mark is sharing the knowledge that you clearly did not know. This is not fear mongering, plain and simple science here. Do your research and I would suggest that you look at said research that is not funded by Monsanto, who obviously has a stake in the outcome. Genetic engineering and hybridization (which it seems most readers are confused about and believe to be the same) are completely different concepts.
      Hybrids are often spontaneously and randomly created in nature when open-pollinated plants naturally cross-pollinate with other related varieties. For creating hybrid seeds, plant breeders direct the process to control the outcome. The advantage of growing hybrid seed compared to inbred, open-pollinated lines comes from the ability to cross the genetic materials of two different, but related plants to produce new, desirable traits that can’t be produced through inbreeding two of the same plants.
      GMO technology allows us to manipulate and combine the DNA of species that would never breed in nature. One example of GMO technology is in Bt corn. Monsanto has crossed genetic material from a bacteria known as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) with corn. The goal was to create a pest-resistant plant. This means that any pests which would eat the corn will die since the pesticide is part of every cell of the plant. The resultant GMO plant, known as Bt Corn, is itself registered as a pesticide with the EPA, along with other GMO Bt crops. In other words, if you feed this corn to your cattle, your chickens, or yourself, you’ll be feeding them an actual pesticide — not just a smidgeon of pesticide residue.
      Is this safe? The reality is that we need to do long term studies to verify its safety. There is a reason GMOs are banned in other countries and I for one do not want to be Monsanto’s guinea pig.

      • Robert Wager

        The Cry proteins (and now so VIP) are very species-genera specific. Without the specific receptor protein lining the gut epithelium these proteins are digested like every other protein consumed. Only the target pests have the specific receptor proteins and therefore are susceptible to the activity of ion disruption the Cry and VIP proteins. The point is all breeding changes the DNA of the crop and in this regard GE crop breeding is the most precise and well studied of the the crop breeding methods. After more than 20 years of commercial GE crops and derived foods there is not a single documented case of harm from consuming these crops. This is why over 100 Nobel Laureates and over 250 science organizations have all endorsed the safe us of this technology. I would be happy to direct you to vast amounts of data that confirms the safety. Cheers

        • Llayla

          Sure, I think it’s important to be well informed! I’ve done a great deal of research already, but could always read more.

          • Robert Wager

            What aspect of GE crops would you like to start with?

  2. Mr. Donner is wrong.

    GMO = novel dna. All dna is modified by time, including our own. The Indians modified corn, and it is silly to even think GMO is unhealthy. Be like me thinking, I can get the DNA of a dog by petting one, or get the DNA of a fish by eating one. One would think, if they were smart, that GMO will save the planet, cure cancer via immuno-oncology, convert energy, etc. People fear what they don’t understand.

    • Mark Donner

      “it’s silly to think GMO is unhealthy”. Now that’s convincing science. Sorry but GMO and its associated biowarfare pesticides and pesticides it is engineered to be resistant to are toxic poisons and cause massive environmental destruction. The goal of the US based Biotech mafia is profit at all costs through control of the world’s food supply. In any other nomenclature that would be called terrorism.

    • Lisa Sarasohn

      The problem is complex. One concern is that GM plants absorb and retain pesticide residues since they’re engineered to continue growing while being sprayed with pesticide. One of the active chemicals within Roundup pesticide is glyphosate.

      To read the likely effects of glyphosate on human health, check out “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases” at http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416

      For a summary in simpler terms, see the widely respected Prevention magazine’s article, “The Latest Science On Roundup: It’s not doing your gut any favors” at http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/crazy-new-research-roundup-weed-killer

      That “crazy” in the Prevention article’s URL? As serious as a heart attack.

      For more detail, see
      http://wisewomanmentor.com/articles/3132998 and
      http://wisewomanmentor.com/articles/3164303

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