The old adage “Where there’s smoke there’s fire” is prompting the question “Where there’s toxins there’s….what?” for researchers in Canada. They have identified toxins (pesticides/insecticides) contained within genetically modified (GM) foods in the blood streams of a group of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses. After decades of the genetically modified food industry’s assurances these poisons are destroyed in the digestive tracts of the humans and animals that consume them, this study shows they are not destroyed and in fact, enter the human blood stream.
This is potentially a very significant issue for human health given the vast amount of crops Americans and Canadians consume that now contain these poisons. In an earlier article entitled “Speed/Slow/Stop…or Label Genetically Modified Foods” we quote statistics from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service that show that various genetically modified crops now represent the majority of U.S. planted acreage of each crop. For example between 65% to 72% of all corn planted in the U.S. contains Bt pesticides or HT, herbicide-tolerant, toxins and 94% of all soybeans planted contain HT herbicide-tolerant toxins. In addition, recent estimates are that 80% of all processed foods purchased in supermarkets have genetically modified ingredients largely as a result of oils and syrups from GM corn, cottonseed, canola, and soybeans.
Not only are we consuming these toxins directly in the crops we eat, we are also exposed to them indirectly in our animal protein (beef, pork, etc.) as these same crops are fed to animals in our food chain. Researchers Aziz Aris and Samual Leblanc from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Center in Quebec, Canada believe the toxins found in these human bloodstreams came from meat, eggs, and milk derived from farm livestock which have been fed genetically modified grains or corn. Their research report appeared in Reproductive Toxicology in early 2011. Genes that produce these toxins have been incorporated into widely grown genetically modified crops both in Canada and in the United States.
This research paper entitled “Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada” is one of the few research efforts looking for evidence of the toxins. This is not because of a shortage of people who want to research them but rather because it is so difficult to obtain the necessary information. These genetic modifications have been patented and are therefore proprietary to the chemical companies that produce them. This means information about these seeds is secret. Furthermore farmers who buy and use these seeds are required to sign contracts stipulating they will not give seeds to others. If they fail to honor these agreements, the chemical companies can sue them and deny them future access to the seeds.
This study looked at 69 women and 30 fetuses for herbicide serums GLYP, GLUF, and 3-MPPA. They also looked for the Bt insecticide toxin CryAb1. All of these serums and toxins were found in the non-pregnant women although the Bt toxin was found in only 67% of them. Pregnant women only showed evidence of the 3-MPPA serum and the Bt toxin CryAb1 with the Bt toxin showing up in 93% of the pregnant women. All fetuses likewise showed evidence of the herbicide 3-MPPA with 80% of them showing the Bt toxin CryAb1.
At this point we do not know what negative effects result from these GM chemicals in the human blood stream. Further study will be required. In the interim, to be as safe as possible people should choose organically grown foods to have the least possible exposure to these genetically modified substances. Finding animal protein where the animals have not been fed genetically modified foods will be much tougher because there is usually nothing that will indicate what these animals were fed.
Note: The genes used in genetically modified crops are to make plants tolerate herbicides such as GLYP, GLUF and 3MPPA. This is what has been added to produce “Roundup Ready” crops which allow farmers to use Roundup to suppress weeds with no fear of hurting or destroying their crops. The CryAb1 is a Bt toxin or an insecticide produced by genetically modified crops to make them insect resistant.
Background: In Beyond Animal, Ego and Time, Chapter 13: Protect Life Imperative – Synthetic Biology, we discuss the developments of genetic engineering and its successor science, synthetic biology. We describe the risks associated with both. This article describes the realization of one of the worst fears of opponents of genetically modified foods. For more information and other articles on related topics go to www.iamaguardian.com.
Use the following link to access the original study: http://somloquesembrem.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/arisleblanc2011.pdf
August 12, 2011, San Francisco, Synthetic Biology/Genetic Engineering