Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Effects of GMOs

Genetically Modified salmon vs. 'organic' salmon.

  Now, I'm not a doctor or a scientist (obviously!). But I've become curious enough, and diligent enough to seek out information as to why so many friends, and friends of friends, were facing so many bouts with cancer.

  And as it turns out, after doing some reading and a lot of listening, cancer isn't the only result of the 'chemicalization' of our world.

  I'm sure it's not as simple as I'm making it out to be, but the obvious can no longer be ignored.

  I described what GMOs were in an entry last week (Do You Know What GMOs Are?). And as I said then, GMOs are found EVERYWHERE. It's estimated that 80% of processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients.

  Here are some of the potential effects:

  In 1996, GMOs were widely introduced in the US. Nine years later, chronic diseases nearly doubled, and food allergies, Autism, Diabetes, asthma, obesity, Parkinson's, cancer and infertility rates exploded.

  They exploded in the US, while staying at relatively the same levels in countries where GMOs are banned or labeled. 40 countries around the world have either banned, or have plans to ban GMOs. In the US, they aren't even regulated.

  Before you ask, where's the proof, let me provide you an alarming piece of information. Read it. Seriously. According to the Center for Food Safety:
“a number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Human health effects can include higher risks of toxicity, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer."
An example of the effect of GMOs on Diabetes rates.

  Those are the effects on OUR health. What about the environment's?

Pollution: From Farm to Stream to River to Ocean
  The manufacturing, transportation, and use of chemicals for agriculture are poisonous to all things that come into contact with them. And many chemicals don't biodegrade, they last forever.

  By using 'Round-Up Ready' corn or soy seeds from Monsanto, and then spraying toxic chemicals and pesticides onto the crops, we are starting the pollution at the farm level. The run off from the farm, to the stream, to the river, and finally into the ocean suffocates sea life, and causes dead zones to grow, and water wells to be contaminated.

Illustration of the Dead Zone areas in the Gulf.
  If that weren't enough, another environmental effect of using GMO crops is that we are killing the earth's soil. That in turn, accelerates our global warming problem.

Soil Degradation
  'Healthy' soil is alive. It is made up of millions of micro-organisms that are responsible for trapping green-house gasses (carbon), that helps clean our air. When we spray pesticides onto the crop/soil, we are killing those micro-organisms which allows more green-house gasses to remain in our air.

  Yet another effect is that nutrients found in living soil are decreasing. Plants obviously get nutrients from the soil, so the plants are not getting the same nutrients as they once did. As a result, our fruits and vegetables are nutrient deficient, so WE are getting fewer nutrients from our food.

  But wait, there's more. Since the soil is dying, it is necessary for farmers to spray EVEN MORE chemicals (synthetic fertilizer that has ammonia in it) onto the crops to aid its growth. Again, creating the run off contamination into our rivers and oceans (while also poisoning our food even further).

A Harmful Cycle
  You see, it's a dirty cycle. And the only ones that are seeing the benefits are the seed/chemical companies (which are usually one and the same, i.e. Monsanto). They continue to become more and more powerful, and see record profits year after year.

  The domino effect of GMOs and chemical farming was a shocking one to me. Until this past year, I had never thought that our food was doing us harm.

  We should be able to trust the foods that are in our grocery stores, not be suspicious and skeptical of it. And I had never realized that so much harm was being done to not only human health, but to the health of our environment too.

  The next time I tackle the world of GMOs, I'll get into ways we can be on the lookout for them. How can we identify them, and avoid them? I hope you come back for more!



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