Share via Email This article is over 8 years old Black clouds over the central business district, Jakarta. The report comes amid growing concern that no one is made to pay for most of the use, loss and damage of the environment, which is reaching crisis proportions in the form of pollution and the rapid loss of freshwater, fisheries and fertile soils. Later this year, another huge UN study - dubbed the "Stern for nature" after the influential report on the economics of climate change by Sir Nicholas Stern - will attempt to put a price on such global environmental damage, and suggest ways to prevent it. The report, led by economist Pavan Sukhdevis likely to argue for abolition of billions of dollars of subsidies to harmful industries like agriculture, energy and transport, tougher regulations and more taxes on companies that cause the damage.
As the prevalence of genetically modified organisms GMOs continues to rise, there has been an increasing public interest for information concerning the safety of these products.
Concerns generally focus on how the GMO may affect the environment or how it may affect the consumer. One specific concern is the possibility for GMOs to negatively affect human health. This could result from differences in nutritional content, allergic response, or undesired side effects such as toxicity, organ damage, or gene transfer.
To address these concerns, there have been over research studies comparing the effects of traditional food to genetically modified food, the results of which have been reviewed in various journals , .
How these results affect regulation can be found through The Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, which hosts a GM Crop Database that can be searched by the public to find GMO crop history, style of modification, and regulation across the world .
Though knowing who to trust and what to believe regarding this topic is an ongoing battle, major health groups, including the American Medical Association and World Health Organization, have concluded from the research of independent groups worldwide that genetically modified foods are safe for consumers .
Regarding toxicity, this includes any dangers related to organ health, mutations, pregnancy and offspring, and potential for transfer of genes to the consumer. One example is an anti-GMO advocacy group called the Institute for Responsible Technology IRTwhich reported that rats fed a diet containing a GMO potato had virtually every organ system adversely affected after just ten days of feeding .
The IRT stated that the toxicity was the result of genetic modification techniques and not a specific case for that particular potato.
Scientists across the U. To this end, many different types of modifications in various crops have been tested, and the studies have found no evidence that GMOs cause organ toxicity or other adverse health effects. An example of this research is a study carried out on a type of GMO potato that was genetically modified to contain the bar gene.
The product of the bar gene is an enzyme that can detoxify herbicides and thus protects the potato from herbicidal treatment. For each diet, they tracked male and female rats. Histopathology is the examination of organs for disease at the microscopic level think pathologist doing a biopsy.
Histopathological examinations of the reproductive organs, liver, kidneys, and spleen showed no differences between GMO-eating and non-GMO-eating animals. These researchers had split rats into four diet groups: They fed the rats over 7, times the average human daily consumption of either GMO or non-GMO tomato or sweet pepper for 30 days and monitored their overall health.
Finally, they carried out histopathology and again found no differences in the stomach, liver, heart, kidney, spleen, or reproductive organs of GMO versus non-GMO fed rats.
Despite massive ingestion of GMO potato, tomato, or sweet pepper, these studies demonstrated no differences in the vitality or health of the animals, even at the microscopic level. Experiments like these on humans would be completely unethical.
Fortunately, prior to these studies years of work have demonstrated that rodents, like mice and rats, are acceptable models for humans, meaning rodent responses to drugs, chemicals, and foods can predict human response.
Rat feeding studies like these, in which rats are fed a potential toxic item and monitored for adverse effects, are considered both specific and sensitive for monitoring toxicity of foods and widely used in the food regulation industry .
The test of time: GMOs and their effect on our offspring Although scientists have been able to demonstrate that GMOs are not toxic to the animals that eat them, as described above and elsewhere, what about side effects being passed on to our next generations?
To discern whether GMO crops affect fertility or embryos during gestation, a group from South Dakota State University again turned to studies on rats. In this case, the rats were eating a type of GMO corn, more commonly known as Bt corn.
Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, a microbe that produces insecticidal endotoxin and has been used as a topical pesticide against insects since see this article.
To allow corn to directly generate this endotoxin, scientists introduced a gene from Bt into the genetic material DNA of corn.
To address buildup of toxicity over time, this group monitored the GMO-eating rats not only for the lifetime of one generation, but also three additional generations. For each generation, they tracked the fertility of parents and compared the health of the embryos from parents that ate Bt corn to those with parents that did not .
Toxic effects can arise in many places and in many ways, but some organs are more susceptible to damage than others, and monitoring them is a good readout for other difficult-to-see effects. Testes are considered a particularly sensitive organ for toxicity tests because of the high degree of cell divisions and thus high susceptibility to cellular or molecular toxins.
To examine the affect of Bt corn on testicular health, the researchers tracked testicular development in fetal, postnatal, pubertal, and adult rats for all four generations. The group found no change in testicular health or litter sizes in any generation.
Likewise, ingestion by pregnant mothers had no effect on fetal, postnatal, pubertal, or adult testicular development of her offspring. Other groups have monitored toxicity over time as well. For example, the group studying the bar GMO potato also wanted to see if organs and reproductive health were sensitive to GMOs over long exposure times .
To do this, they examined the fertility and gestation periods of GMO-eating mothers compared to non-GMO-eating mothers for five generations. They tracked animal body weight, bone, eye, and thymus development, and general retardation. Like the studies on Bt corn, in all cases, they found no significant differences between the GMO potato and non-GMO potato diets, suggesting that there is no buildup or inheritance of toxicity, even over multiple generations.Pharmaceutical companies have contributed to people’s improved health and prolonged life, generally speaking.
Research and development of drugs that are brought to market can be costly and there are strict regulations and requirements that companies must follow in most countries.
In economics, deflation is a decrease in the general price level of goods and services. Deflation occurs when the inflation rate falls below 0% (a negative inflation rate).Inflation reduces the value of currency over time, but deflation increases it.
This allows one to buy more goods and services than before with the same amount of currency. The best method for establishing a connection between "normal" levels of air pollution and premature mortality is through comparison of mortality rates between different geographic areas with different average air pollution levels.
However, the Department of Health put the implementation of its proposed regulations (which were reported to have caused “much heated debate in view of the many severe restrictions that they contained and their potential far-reaching effects”) on hold, deciding instead to wait for the publication of the WHO Set of Recommendations on .
There is ample research on nonionizing, nonthermal wireless radiation showing health effects. Please see the BioInitiative report (), Pathophysiology Issue on EMFs (Aug ), and the Environmental Reviews () article by Levitt/Lai to get an idea of the volume of scientific research which has been done on the topic of wireless radiation and health.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) became a hot topic in when the people of California had the chance to vote on Proposition 37 in November.