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July 31, 2011

Are GMOs the new Tobacco?


Did you know that 92% of soy, 80% of corn and 86% of cotton grown in the United States are classified as genetically modified organisms? These plants contain the genes from other organisms such as bacteria and viruses that help them better survive harsh environments and predators. While the use of GMOs has increased in recent years, many people have begun to question how safe these plants are for humans to consume.

Unfortunately, very little scientific evidence has been established supporting either view- Pro or Anti GMO. It is clear that most GMO crops harvested have shown no significant difference in nutrition compared to their non-GMO cousins. There is much speculation about how these crops have been deemed healthy in the first place and there is much public suspicion about the motives of the scientists who are working on this project. Many people feel this pattern is suspiciously similar to the path of big tobacco companies.

First, a new product is glorified, hailed as a solution to health issues, a benefit for all and certainly not harmful. Then scientific studies (from the companies themselves) back up these claims with 'data' until it turns out all of these things were false. By then, countless people will have lost their lives. One of the leading GMO producers, Monsanto, allegedly attempted to cover up research that showed three of their corn strains contributed to increased blood sugar and triglyceride levels in mice. Personally, I'm not convinced Monsanto and other GMO companies are akin to big tobacco. In fact, I'm convinced GMOs are all that was promised and more.

There have been some GMOs that demonstrate great health benefits. ?Golden rice? is rice that is naturally enriched with B vitamins and Iron, helping to alleviate nutritional deficits in poor populations. In addition, plants immune to certain pests will have no need for pesticide spray- preventing environmental damage. GMO crops have become increasingly popular because they promise many benefits of higher yields, improved maturation time and resistance to pests. Farmers of GMO crops need not spray harmful and expensive pesticides and can feel secure that harsh weather will not immediately kill their crop (depending on the specific GMO variety and which genes it contains). Higher yields and security might help support the growing human population.

However, there is a great fear that cross-pollination between GMOs and natural plants (such as the occasional cross pollination with corn and natural grass varieties) can lead to the ?escape? of these ill-placed genes into the wild. Many individuals feel the emergence of GMOs have contributed to a rise in allergic reactions. These fears contribute to the feeling that Monsanto and other companies will end up like big tobacco, ultimately exposed for endangering the public. Unfortunately for those people, GMO use continues to increase because it is becoming more and more financially difficult to not do so. A farmer who increases his yield per acre can also increase his profits, and if the corn does not need to be sprayed with pesticide, given extra fertilizer or be protected from harsh weather, it makes little sense not to use them.

Ultimately, it is still unclear how these GMO strains might impact our health but one thing is for sure: this debate will continue to rage and become ever-more heated. For more information, please see: http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/agri_biotechnology/gmo_planting/393.usa_cultivations_2008_increase_gm_maize.html and http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/gmfood.shtml
Posted by      Jennie S. at 4:51 PM MDT

Comments:

  ali f.  says:
Posted on Sun, 26 Jan 2020 7:43 PM MST by ali f.

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