Editor’s Note: Genetically modified (GM) crops were supposed to be “better” — bigger yields with less pesticides and herbicides required, right? That promise is part of what has made them proliferate across the globe so fast. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, 17 million farmers 28 countries across the world planted 170 million hectares of GM crops in 2012. In that same year, a whopping 81 percent of global soy planted was genetically modified.
But promises made have been promises broken. Studies are also revealing that, with the increase in GM crops has come an increase in the use of pesticides; ever since farmers in the U.S. first began commercial GM production, pesticide use has increased by a staggering 73 million pounds. Herbicide use has also gone up.
It doesn’t take a biologist to tell us all this increase in chemical use in our food and environment is not good. Surely somewhere inside, even these farmers must know that all this terrific increase in use of pesticides and herbicides will have long-term negative consequences… surely they must know these crops are harming more than helping.
(For a list of which produce tends to have the most and least pesticides, click here.)
July 21, 2013
A new study on dietary toxin exposure found that all the participating children exceeded the cancer benchmark levels for arsenic, dioxins, dieldrin, and DDE, while 95 percent of preschoolers exceeded the non-cancer benchmark for acrylamide. More worrying was that the cancer risk ratios were exceeded 100-fold for arsenic and dioxins.
Children and adults exceed cancer benchmark levels for six toxins
Researchers at the University of California, Davis recently carried out the first-ever study to consider dietary exposure to 11 toxins simultaneously, including acrylamide, arsenic, lead, mercury, dioxins and several banned pesticides (chlordane, DDE, dieldrin). The study’s participants included 364 children aged two to seven, 446 parents of young children, and 149 older adults, all living in California. To assess exposure levels, researchers used food-frequency questionnaires along with toxin content datasets from the Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure levels were then compared with the “cancer benchmark” of each toxin, which is the exposure level that would generate one excess cancer per million people over a 70-year lifetime. Non-cancer benchmark levels were also considered, for health effects other than cancer.