Seven Things to Tell Your Friends About GMOs
Farmers and eaters around the country and the world are watching the Nov. 6 election in California with bated breath.
Will Proposition 37 — requiring labeling of GMOs in our food — pass? Note that even China requires labeling! But here in the U.S., GMOs took off in the 1990s with no public debate, and today they’re in most processed foods, making Americans the world’s GMO guinea pigs.
We know it’s easy to get sunk by “information overload” and agribusiness advertising. So far the largest GMO maker, Monsanto, and other industry giants have plowed at least $35 million into keeping us in the dark.
To help us think straight, we’ve prepared seven points to consider and share with your friends — all backed by authoritative studies. Here’s what they reveal:
1. GMOs have never undergone standard testing or regulation for human safety. And now that they’re in 70 percent of processed foods, it’s extremely difficult for scientists to isolate their health risks. 2. But we know that GMOs have proven harmful in animal studies. A 2009 review of 19 studies found mammals fed GM corn or soy developed “liver and kidney problems” that could mark the “onset of chronic diseases.” Most were 90-day studies. In a new two-year study, rats fed GM corn developed two to three times more tumors — some bigger than a quarter of their total body weight — and these tumors appeared much earlier than in rats fed non-GM corn. Among scientists, the study has its defenders and critics, but even the critics underscore that we need more long-term studies.
3. And the most widely used GMOs are paired with an herbicide linked to serious health risks. GM crops — Roundup Ready soy and corn — are treated with the herbicide glyphosate, which in exposed humans has been associated with DNA damage. In the lab, it’s proven