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12 PM Group 4, Do GMOs have a negative impact on your health?

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Aura, Chris, Melissa, Simren

Answer: Probably Not.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's), are organisms whose genome has been engineered in a lab so that you can get favorable traits that the organism normally wouldn't have had. For example 92% of corn has been genetically modified to contain a gene from the bacterium "Bacillus thuringiensis", which produces a natural insecticide called Bt toxin. Since 1994 the GMO industry has exploded and taken over our food industry which begs the question… Is it bad for us?

From the International Journal of Childbirth Education, the author Abbie Goldbas gives information about how there are interpretations about the effects of GMOs on the human body. Some positive impact is that one of the GMO products is Cassava, when devoured it can raise vitamin A, nobody gets blindness, gives more protein, provides more minerals, immune systems do not contract infections, no animals can get to them, and iron deficiency anemia does not happen. Another positive impact is that in New Zealand, milk was created of GMOs with no allergies in them. But the negative impact is also that viruses could be a consequence of GMOs. Another negative impact is that soybean oil in fast food stores could be one of the reasons for female hormones being disproportional and illness that extends over time. GMOs need more in depth discovery and analysis about it in order to comprehend the effects it has on others (Goldbas).

Currently about 92 percent of corn is genetically modified. 94 percent of soybeans and cotton are genetically modified. The percentage of soybeans are relevant due to the fact that condensed oil is found in supermarket products. That being said, up to 75 percent of processed foods we find at our supermarket shelves are genetically engineered. Why? The preservatives in that food let the food last longer giving the market an opportunity to possess it longer and not having it as waste, eventually making a profit.

Corn, soybeans, and cotton are crops that are mostly used/needed and the vast majority of them are genetically modified. Today, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, and the US are currently the five countries that produce 90 percent of the worlds genetically modified crops. Other GMOs that are very commonly used are in the feed of livestock. Again this is due because of corn and soy which is what are mainly present in livestock feed. GMOs are very common in our society. Main reasons of why we don't notice them is because of labeling. The US does not require GMOs to be labeled in our supermarket food.

One of of the big issues that people have with GMO's, is the claim that there haven't been enough studies on them for us to really know what they do to the human body. However the United States government first approved GMO crops nearly 20 years ago. As previously stated 95% of the nation's sugar beets, 94% of the soybeans, and 92% of the corns sold in US stores are GMO, according to the 2011 International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report. During this time there has been no increase in any diseases or food allergies across the US population. So when people say there aren't enough studies out you can simply see that the entire US population counts as a 20 year study, that shows no decrease in overall health of the population.

Another big thing for some is knowing how GMO's are impacting the environment as a whole. We are talking about chemicals pesticides and herbicides they maybe are affecting the birds, butterflies and especially bees. Bees are so very important for pollination and they are endangered as of now due to toxicity of modern techniques. Although all of this is frightening there's not much evidence on how all of this is going to affect the environment in the long run. GMO's have been in our foods since about 1994 and with all the years that have passed there is not enough solid evidence proving that they are either puncturing our health or the environment we live in.

Another issue is that since GMO's are highly resistant to pesticides, those pesticides used trickle down into the ground water and soil and effect the natural environment around them. This argument actually has some merit to it. There have been quite a few studies that show the effects of these pesticides have a negative impact on the surrounding ecosystem that they are used in. However scientists have been working on GMO's that cut out the need for pesticides all together by making the crops distasteful to the pests that eat them. To put this into simple terms their making the crops tastes bad to the pests so that they won't eat it. So this pesticide problem may soon be gone.

One last issue comes from the famous "Seralini paper" study, in which scientists fed rats foods that were genetically modified. The study showed evidence that the rats that ate the food got tumors at an alarming rate. However their evidence was flawed. First off the strain rats they used for the study were already predisposed for developing tumors. Also the test used a very small sample size of rats which is not very reliable when testing outcomes. So it became almost impossible to identify if the rats developed tumors due to the food they were eating, or if they would've gotten the tumors regardless. The paper has since been retracted by the scientists, and only gets posted in non peer reviewed journals and publications.

Works cited

Goldbas, A. GMOs: What Are They?...Genetically Modified Organisms. International Journal of Childbirth Education. 2014; 29(3): 20-24. (5p)

Smith J. 10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs. Institute for Responsible Technology. http://responsibletechnology.org/10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs/. Published January 16, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2018.

10 studies proving GMOs are harmful? Not if science matters. Genetic Literacy Project. https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/11/13/10-studies-proving-gmos-are-harmful-not-if-science-matters/. Published January 12, 2018. Accessed February 12, 2018.

GMO Foods: Good or Bad? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gmos-good-or-bad. Accessed February 12, 2018.


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