Toxins from GM plants
The world’s leading consumer advocate promoting healthier, non-GMO choices Posted on May 25, 2011
Watch this two minute video, Double Dipping Danger, produced by Alex Bogusky, and then read about new evidence below showing even more harm from genetically modified foods. Click HERE to play.
When U.S. regulators approved Monsanto’s genetically modified “Bt” corn, they knew it would add a deadly poison into our food supply. That’s what it was designed to do. The corn’s DNA is equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) that produces the Bt-toxin. It’s a pesticide; it breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.
But Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) swore up and down that it was only insects that would be hurt. The Bt-toxin, they claimed, would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and not have any impact on all of us trusting corn-eating consumers.
Oops. A study just proved them wrong.
Doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found the corn’s Bt-toxin in the blood of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women.i (Specifically, the toxin was identified in 93% of 30 pregnant women, 80% of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67% of 39 non-pregnant women.) The study has been accepted for publication in the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology.
According to the UK Daily Mail, this study, which “appears to blow a hole in” safety claims, “has triggered calls for a ban on imports and a total overhaul of the safety regime for genetically modified (GM) crops and food.” Organizations from England to New Zealand are now calling for investigations and for GM crops to be halted due to the serious implications of this finding.
Links to allergies, auto-immune disease, and other disorders
There’s already plenty of evidence that the Bt-toxin produced in GM corn and cotton plants is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. The fact that it flows through our blood supply, and that is passes through the placenta into fetuses, may help explain the rise in many disorders in the US since Bt crop varieties were first introduced in 1996.
In government-sponsored research in Italyii, mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses. Their elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, for example, are typically associated with allergies and infections. The mice had an increase in cytokines, which are associated with “allergic and inflammatory responses.” The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, to MS and cancer (see chart).
|IL-6||Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, various types of cancer (multiple myeloma and prostate cancer)|
|IL-13||Allergy, allergic rhinitis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)|
|MIP-1b||Autoimmune disease and colitis.|
|IL-12p70||Inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis|
The young mice in the study also had elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases. The Bt corn that was fed to these mice, MON 810, produced the same Bt-toxin that was found in the blood of women and fetuses.
When rats were fed another of Monsanto’s Bt corn varieties called MON 863, their immune systems were also activated, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells. These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of toxicity in the liver and kidneys.iii
Natural Bt is dangerous
Farmers have used Bt-toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for years. But they spray it on plants, where it washes off and biodegrades in sunlight. The GM version is built-in; every plant cell has its own spray bottle. The toxin doesn’t wash off; it’s consumed. Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray; is designed to be even more toxic; and has properties of known allergens—it actually fails the World Health Organization’s allergen screening tests.iv
The biotech companies ignore the substantial difference between the GM toxin and the natural bacteria version, and boldly claim that since the natural spray has a history of safe use in agriculture, it’s therefore OK to put the poison directly into our food. But even this claim of safe use of Bt spray ignores peer-reviewed studies showing just the opposite.
When natural Bt-toxin was fed to mice, they had tissue damage, immune responses as powerful as cholera toxinv, and even started reacting to other foods that were formerly harmless.vi Farm workers exposed to Bt also showed immune responses.vii The EPA’s own expert Scientific Advisory Panel said that these mouse and farm worker studies “suggest that Bt proteins could act as antigenic and allergenic sources.”viii But the EPA ignored the warnings. They also overlooked studiesix showing that about 500 people in Washington state and Vancouver showed allergic and flu-like symptoms when they were exposed to the spray when it was used to kill gypsy moths.
Bt cotton linked to human allergies, animal deaths
|Indian farm workers are suffering from rashes and itching and other symptoms after coming into contact with Bt cotton.|
Now thousands of Indian farm laborers are suffering from the same allergic and flu-like symptoms as those in the Pacific Northwest simply from handling genetically engineered cotton plants that produce Bt-toxin. According to reports and records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, as well as numerous investigative reports and case studies, workers are struggling with constant itching and rashes; some take antihistamines every day in order to go to work.
It gets worse.
|All thirteen buffalo of a small Indian village died after grazing for a single day on Bt cotton plants.|
When they allow livestock to graze on the Bt cotton plants after harvest, thousands of sheep, goats, and buffalo died. Numerous others got sick. I visited one village where for seven to eight years they allowed their buffalo to graze on natural cotton plants without incident. But on January 3rd, 2008, they allowed their 13 buffalo to graze on Bt cotton plants for the first time. After just one day’s exposure, all died. The village also lost 26 goats and sheep.
One small study in Andhra Pradesh reported that all six sheep that grazed on Bt cotton plants died within a month, while the three controls fed natural cotton plants showed no adverse symptoms.
Living pesticide factories inside us?
Getting back to the Bt-toxin now circulating in the blood of North American adults and newborns—how did it get there? The study authors speculate that it was consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class. They even suggest that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn—as most livestock are.