Section 1: Evidence of reactions in animals and humans
1.1 GM potatoes damaged rats
1. Rats were fed potatoes engineered to produce their own insecticide.
2. They developed potentially precancerous cell growth in the digestive tract, inhibited development of their brains, livers and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver, enlarged pancreases and intestines and immune system damage.
3. The cause was not the insecticide, but in all likelihood was the process of genetic engineering.
4. GM foods on the market—which were created with the same process—have not been subject to such an extensive testing protocol.
1.2 Rats fed GM tomatoes got bleeding stomachs, several died
1. Rats were fed the GM FlavrSavr tomato for 28 days.
2. Seven of 20 rats developed stomach lesions (bleeding stomachs); another 7 of 40 died within two weeks and were replaced in the study.
3. The tomato was approved despite unresolved safety questions by FDA scientists.
1.3 Rats fed Bt corn had multiple health problems
1. Rats were fed Monsanto’s Mon 863 Bt corn for 90 days.
2. They showed significant changes in their blood cells, livers and kidneys, which might indicate disease.
3. Although experts demanded follow-up, Monsanto used unscientific, contradictory arguments to dismiss concerns.
1.4 Mice fed GM Bt potatoes had intestinal damage
1. Mice were fed either GM potatoes engineered to produce the Bt-toxin or natural potatoes spiked with Bt-toxin.
2. Both diets created abnormal and excessive cell growth in the lower part of their small intestine (ileum).
3. Similar damage to the human small intestine might result in incontinence or flu-like symptoms, and may be precancerous.
4. This study overturns the assumptions that Bt-toxin is destroyed during digestion and is not biologically active in mammals.
1.5 Workers exposed to Bt cotton developed allergies
1. Agricultural laborers in six villages who picked or loaded Bt cotton reported reactions of the skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract.
2. Some laborers required hospitalization.
3. Employees at a cotton gin factory take antihistamines everyday.
4. One doctor treated about 250 cotton laborers
1.6 Sheep died after grazing in Bt cotton fields
1. After the cotton harvest in parts of India, sheep herds grazed continuously on Bt cotton plants.
2. Reports from four villages revealed that about 25% of the sheep died within a week.
3. Post mortem studies suggest a toxic reaction.
1.7 Inhaled Bt corn pollen may have triggered disease in humans
1. In 2003, approximately 100 people living next to a Bt cornfield in the Philippines developed skin, respiratory, intestinal reactions and other symptoms while the corn was shedding pollen.
2. Blood tests of 39 people showed an antibody response to Bt-toxin, which supports—but does not prove—a link.
3. The symptoms reappeared in 2004 in at least four other villages that planted the same corn variety.
4. Villagers also attribute several animal deaths to the corn.
1.8 Farmers report pigs and cows became sterile from GM corn
1. More than 20 farmers in North America report that pigs fed GM corn varieties had low conception rates, false pregnancies or gave birth to bags of water.
2. Both male and female pigs became sterile.
3. Some farmers also report sterility among cows.
1.9 Twelve cows in Germany died mysteriously when fed Bt corn
1. Twelve dairy cows died on a farm in Hesse Germany, after being fed a diet with significant amounts of a single GM corn variety, Bt 176.
2. Other cows in the herd had to be killed due to some mysterious illness.
3. Syngenta, the producers of Bt 176, compensated the farmer for part of his losses, but did not admit responsibility for the cow deaths.
4. In spite of demands by the farmer and even public protests, no detailed autopsy reports were made available.
1.10 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had liver cell problems
1. The liver cells of mice fed Roundup Ready soybeans showed significant changes.
2. Irregularly shaped nuclei and nucleoli, an increased number of nuclear pores and other changes, all suggest higher metabolism and altered patterns of gene expression.
3. The changes may be in response to a toxin.
4. Most of the effects disappeared when GM soy was removed from the diet.
1.11 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had problems with the pancreas
1. Mice fed GM soy showed changes in the synthesis and processing of digestive enzymes.
2. The production of alpha-amylase, a major digestive enzyme, dropped by as much as 77%.
3. This, combined with other pancreatic changes, suggests that GM soy may interfere with digestion and assimilation, as well as alter gene expression.
1.12 Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had unexplained changes in testicular cells
1. The structure and gene expression pattern of testicle cells of mice fed Roundup Ready soybeans changed significantly.
2. The cause for the changes is unknown, but the testicles are sensitive indicators of toxins.
3. Some of the changes might possibly influence adult fertility as well as the health of the offspring.
4. Mouse embryos from GM-fed mothers did show a temporary decrease in gene expression.
1. Rabbits fed GM soy for about 40 days showed significant differences in the amounts of certain enzymes in their kidneys, hearts and livers.
2. A rise in LDH1 levels in all three organs suggests an increase in cellular metabolism.
3. Changes in other enzymes point to other alterations in the organs.
1.14 Most offspring of rats fed Roundup Ready soy died within three weeks
1. Female rats were fed Roundup Ready soy starting before conception and continuing through pregnancy and weaning.
2. Of the offspring, 55.6% died within three weeks compared to 9% from non-GM soy controls.
3. Some pups from GM-fed mothers were significantly smaller and both mothers and pups were more aggressive.
4. In a separate study, after a lab began feeding rats a commercial diet containing GM soy, offspring mortality reached 55.3%.
5. When offspring from GM-fed rats were mated together, they were unable to conceive.
1.15 Soy allergies skyrocketed in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
1. In a single year, 1999, soy allergies in the UK jumped from 10% to 15% of the sampled population.
2. GM soy was imported into the country shortly before 1999.
3. Antibody tests verify that some individuals react differently to GM and non-GM soy varieties.
4. GM soy also has an increased concentration of a known allergen
1.16 Rats fed Roundup Ready canola had heavier livers
1. The livers of rats fed GM canola were 12-16% heavier than those fed non-GM varieties.
2. The liver is a chemical factory and primary detoxifier for the body.
3. Heavier livers may indicate liver disease or inflammation.
4. If this were caused by oil-soluble toxins, they may be present in canola oil.
1. The death rate for chickens fed Chardon LL GM corn for 42 days was 7%, compared to 3.5% for controls.
2. GM-fed chickens also had more erratic body weight and food intake, and less weight gain overall.
3. The study was designed so that only huge differences would be statistically significant.
4. The results were therefore dismissed without follow-up.
1.18 GM peas generated an allergic-type inflammatory response in mice
1. In advanced tests not normally part of GM crop evaluations, protein produced by GM peas generated a dangerous immune response in mice.
2. That “same” protein, when produced naturally in beans, had no effect.
3. The GM peas produced a subtle, hard-to-detect difference in the way sugar molecules attached to the protein, which likely caused the problem.
4. The response in mice suggested that the GM peas could provoke inflammatory or allergic reactions in humans; commercialization of the peas was therefore cancelled.
5. This type of subtle but dangerous change in the GM protein would rarely, if ever, be detected in the safety assessments typically used to approve GM crops.
3. Animals that avoided GM food include cows, pigs, geese, squirrels, elk, deer, raccoons, mice and rats.
1.20 A GM food supplement killed about 100 people and caused 5,000-10,000 to fall sick
1. One brand of the supplement L-tryptophan created a deadly US epidemic in the 1980s
2. The company genetically engineered bacteria to produce the supplement more economically.
3. Their product contained many contaminants, five or six of which were suspected as the cause of the disease.
4. Discovering the epidemic required multiple coincidences, suggesting that adverse reactions to GM foods may be hard to identify.
A summary of the 65 Health Risks
Presented in Genetic Roulette by Jeffrey Smith