Genetically Modified Organisms: the Dangers

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Did you know that most of the time you are consuming GMOs?

In recent years, geneticists in order to make profit have replaced our diet with genetically altered foods, which have adversely affected human health and local communities. Being resistant to pesticides, GMOs are created by splicing genes of different species that are combined through genetic engineering (GE), something that is impossible to do in nature (The Non-GMO Project). Consuming these genetically altered and more processed foods can lead to increased risk of diseases and even cancer. Most of the time, we do not even realize that we are eating these harmful toxins as they are infused in our food without our knowledge (Label GMOs). The farmers that maintain the traditional farming practices and choose to grow organic produce are constantly trying to keep their businesses alive. Larger corporations, however, who choose to use genetically modified (GM) seeds, make larger profits with less time and effort involved. Choosing to buy local organic produce over crops that contain genetically modified organisms cannot only help you stay healthy, but also keep our local farmers in business so that they may continue to grow their crops the way nature intended.

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Although GMOs were only introduced in 1996, the side effects can already be seen: There have been increased allergic reactions, antibiotic resistant bacteria and other toxic hazards. While these side effects of GMOs may seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things, the lasting effects can be much more drastic. More and more children are having life-threatening allergies, which can be contributed to increased GMO intake. Already thirty seven people have died from side effects of GMOs, 1,500 partially paralyzed and 5,000 were temporarily handicapped by chemicals used in harvesting GMOs (Smith, “Genetic Roulette” 258). These numbers do not include the number of children that have been born with birth defects associated with the chemical, glyphosate. This chemical alone can cause infertility, stillbirths, miscarriages and cancers. Also, in animals, studies have shown that GMO intake leads to premature death, mammary tumors and liver/kidney damage (Dr. Daniel Louis, “GMOS=BAD IDEA).

Furthermore, chemical products used on plants for their gene modification can lead to unexpected specimens that can be a danger to nature. The GMO’s supporter argues that scientists use those chemical products in order to increase either the productivity of food or animals or to make them better than the original strain, and the final result can lead to pest resistance. However, in the article, “Herbicide and Insecticide use on GMO crops Skyrocketing While Pro-GMO Media Run Interference” by David Bronner, the author speculates that, “…we now have huge swaths of the country infested with ‘superweeds” and ‘superbugs’ resistant to glyphosate and Bt…” (1). Bronner explains how bugs and germs will eventually grow a resistance to the GMO’s inherent to pest resistance. The bugs and germs will be able to develop their own resistances because they have time, and they will become dangerous to the environment.

Monsanto, the biggest producer of GMO seeds, has a history of being wrong about safety. When planting GM seeds, pesticides and herbicides are used so that these crops become resistant to them. Toxicity is a huge issue surrounding chemical pesticides and herbicides. GMOs may be toxic to non-target organisms. Bees and butterflies are the most talked-about examples currently. Bees are hugely important in the pollination of many food crops, but are unfortunately extremely endangered by modern agricultural techniques, such as GM crops (“The environmental impact of GMOs”). The chemicals found in these herbicides lead to an increase in death of bees and butterflies.

Our local farmers are competing heavily with larger companies who support GM crops. The Reap and harvest time for GM crops is way more consistent than naturally grown crops. This then lead to a higher demand in GM crops so the food markets could stay afloat. Even though farmers’ crops are healthier, the demand in food drives toxic crops like GMOs to the market because they are produced more quickly. However, they do not discourage our farmers whose main goal is to protect consumers while these corporate giants are protecting their assets and are more motivated to make profits. The article, “Genetically Modified Food Are Not the Answer to World Hunger”, by John Robbins claims, “The biotech companies have invested billions of dollars because they sense in this technology the potential for enormous profit and the means to gain control over the world’s food supply. Their goal is not to help subsistence farmers feed themselves. Their goal is to maximum profit” (2). The author in the article explains how the biotech companies are just for their own interest. The biotech companies answer to the problem of world hunger complicate the situation by creating more disaster.

Now what should we do with all this information? GMOs have not been adequately tested on 0humans, and are just one of the many reasons why they should not be consumed. With their long list of side effects that are present in both animals and humans, taking a stand against GMOs is important if we want local farmers to continue growing their crops without genetic mutations. We need to support them by buying their produce rather than a brand name. Not only does buying locally grown produce supply healthier food, but also promise that the healthy food one is purchasing will still be available for years to come. Although the pricing may differ, one is paying for the quality of the food and essentially, ones quality of life. GMOs were not meant to be consumed and conflict with our body’s natural biochemical balance. By consuming GMOs, one is putting his or her own life at risk. It is one’s own body and only one can decide what to put in it.

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