Genetically Engineered Foods May Cause Rising Food Allergies

Arguments made by the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates plant produced pesticides, tell us not to worry about the thought of consuming toxic pesticides. Instead, they say that the pesticides used, Bt, are produced naturally from a soil bacterium which has a history of safe use by organic farmers who have used the solution for yeas as a method of insect control. Genetic engineers simply remove the gene that produces Bt and insert it into the DNA of corn and cotton plants, making the plant do the work, instead of the farmer. They also say that the Bt toxin is quickly destroyed in our stomach, and even if it survived would not harm humans or any other mammals. However, these arguments are solely that, arguments, which are unsupported and refuted according to a lot of research.

When a study was done, spraying natural Bt over areas in Vancouver and Washington State for months, about 500 people reported reactions, mostly those being allergy or flu-like symptoms. Six of those people had to go to the emergency room, while workers who applied the Bt sprays reported that their eyes, nose, and throats were irritated. Similarly, farmers who were exposed to liquid Bt said that they had reactions such as infection, ulcers on the cornea, skin irritation, burning, swelling, and redness. One woman even reported fever, altered consciousness, and seizures when she was accidentally sprayed with Bt. This proves that the statements of Bt doing no harm on humans is extremely false. As for being destroyed in the digestive system, studies on mice disproved this as well. Results of these, and other, studies showed that plant-produced Bt is always active and much more likely to trigger an immune response than the natural version.

Additional studies in 2005 reported by medical investigators in India found that hundreds of agricultural workers are developing severe allergic reactions when they are exposed to Bt cotton. This exposure includes picking cotton, loading it, cleaning it, or simply leaning against it. Some people that work at ginning factories must take antihistamines daily in order to go to work. These reactions are only trigger with the Bt varieties and the symptoms are virtually identical to those that were described by the 500 people in Vancouver and Washington who were sprayed with Bt.

Another study was done on the basis that Bt-toxin is produced in GM corn and can be eaten intact. It is also in pollen which can be breathed in. Therefore, a village of Filipino people were studied in 2003 when an adjacent Bt cornfield was pollinating. 100 of these people were stricken with disease which included symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, extreme stomach pain, vomiting, chest pains, fever, and allergies, along with respiratory, intestinal, and skin reactions. The symptoms first appeared in those that were living closest to the field and then progressed to those further away. When the same corn was planted in four other villages the following year, the same symptoms returned in all four areas only during the time of pollination.

All of these studies confirm that GM crops engineered to produce built-in pesticides provoke a great variety of immune responses. Allergic reactions are a defensive and often harmful reaction from the immune system to an external irritant that occur when the body interprets something foreign as harmful and offensive and acts accordingly. Since all GM foods have something foreign and different, it is easy to see why the body would react in such ways.

As the GM foods arise on the market place make sure you scan each label to make sure you are not buying a GM vegetable of fruit. Check every label this way you will not be stricken with debilitating symptoms that may prevent you from going to work. Always say NO to GM foods and support your organic foods store.

— Darrell Miller

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