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Monday, September 24, 2012

About that genetically engineered corn...

I just saw this scary study in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. Séralini, G.-E., et al. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food Chem. Toxicol. (2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005 .This is the first peer reviewed study on the health effects of genetically altered corn.

You just might want to ease up on eating that genetically modified, roundup tolerant, Monsanto corn. Lab rats are sporting some serious tumors, mammary the most common, the pituitary second. Sex hormone balance was shredded and liver necrosis was two and one half times higher. Not so good for kidneys either. It is also resulting in a much higher rate of premature death in our little rodent friends. If you can wade through the study, please note that these application dosages were well below the recognized safety limits.
The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Here is part of the conclusion from the paper:
In conclusion, it was previously known that glyphosate consumption
in water above authorized limits may provoke hepatic
and kidney failures (EPA). The results of the study presented here
clearly demonstrate that lower levels of complete agricultural glyphosate
herbicide formulations, at concentrations well below officially
set safety limits, induce severe hormone-dependent
mammary, hepatic and kidney disturbances. Similarly, disruption
of biosynthetic pathways that may result from overexpression of
the EPSPS transgene in the GM NK603 maize can give rise to comparable
pathologies that may be linked to abnormal or unbalanced
phenolic acids metabolites, or related compounds. Other mutagenic
and metabolic effects of the edible GMO cannot be excluded.
This will be the subject of future studies, including transgene and
glyphosate presence in rat tissues. Reproductive and multigenerational
studies will also provide novel insights into these problems.
This study represents the first detailed documentation of longterm
deleterious effects arising from the consumption of a GM Rtolerant
maize and of R, the most used herbicide worldwide.
Altogether, the significant biochemical disturbances and physiological
failures documented in this work confirm the pathological
effects of these GMO and R treatments in both sexes, with different
amplitudes. We propose that agricultural edible GMOs and formulated
pesticides must be evaluated very carefully by long term
studies to measure their potential toxic effects.
According to the Right to Know blog, where I was first alerted to this study, Monsanto has been actively trying to suppress studies on its products, in the guise of protecting intellectual property.
...The reason we have been denied such critical information is that biotech companies like Monsanto have controlled and suppressed such research (because of patent restrictions on GMOs). As the editorial board at Scientific American wrote, “Scientists must ask corporations for permission before publishing independent research on genetically modified crops. That restriction must end.”
Another good reason to support accurate labeling of genetically modified food. Unless you want to end up looking like these rats. Or the rats at Monsanto.

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