Health Risks of GMO's

SUBHEAD: We are All Eating GMO Foods, and Research shows Serious Health Effects.

By Linda Pascatore on 26 July 2009 for Island Breath - (

Image above: Onion illustration from "Know What You Eat" campaign created by GreenPeace. From  

[IB Publisher's Note: The following is a brief summary of important material on the health effects of GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms). For the full text, go to Health Risks on the Institute for Responsible Technology website:]
Americans are now eating genetically modified ingredients in most of their processed foods. GM (Genetically Modified) plants have had foreign genes inserted into their DNA. Many of these genes are from viruses and bacteria which are new to the human food supply.

The most common GM plants which are found in processed food include corn, soybean, canola, and cottonseed. Genetic Engineering is nothing like conventional hybrids or breeding that have been done in the past. In genetic engineering, the species barrier is crossed: two different species that normally can never cross breed are artificially forced together on a genetic level.

This Genetic Engineering is little understood, even by those who perform it. They use several different methods.

One is like a crap shoot: a "gene gun" shoots genes into a group of cells, hoping they will hit the correct gene to have the desired effect.

Another method involves using a bacteria or virus to invade the host cell with the foreign DNA.

Both of these methods can cause mutations and unexpected and undesirable effects. Research has been done, primarily in animal studies.

Some of the known health effects which have been found include damaged immune systems, pre-cancerous growth, smaller brains, problems with the liver and other organs, cellular anomalies, reproductive problems and sterility, increased infant mortality, and death. Some noted human effects are increased allergic and immune system reactions to GM foods. There have been few human clinical trials for GM foods.

However, there is one published study in which humans were fed GM soy. It found that the Genetically Modified bacteria in the soy was transferred into the DNA of the human's digestive tracts.

That means that these foreign proteins with their unknown effects may continue to reproduce inside us. If the antibiotic gene which is inserted into most GM crops were to transfer, it could create antibiotic resistent diseases. If the BT gene that secretes pesticides were to transfer, we could have pesticides produced in our intestines.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: AAEM calls for GMO Ban 5/19/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Genetically Modified Kauai 12/10/09

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