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Member since: Wed Feb 10, 2010, 01:12 PM
Number of posts: 4,730

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National Acad of Sciences: "genetic transformation has potential to produce unanticipated allergens"


The New England Journal of Medicine

GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health

Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.

N Engl J Med 2015; 373:693-695
August 20, 2015
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1505660

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians' worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive. The vast majority of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are now genetically engineered. Foods produced from GM crops have become ubiquitous. And unlike regulatory bodies in 64 other countries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require labeling of GM foods.

Two recent developments are dramatically changing the GMO landscape. First, there have been sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops, and still further increases — the largest in a generation — are scheduled to occur in the next few years. Second, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GM crops, as a “probable human carcinogen”1 and classified a second herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), as a “possible human carcinogen.”2

The application of genetic engineering to agriculture builds on the ancient practice of selective breeding. But unlike traditional selective breeding, genetic engineering vastly expands the range of traits that can be moved into plants and enables breeders to import DNA from virtually anywhere in the biosphere. Depending on the traits selected, genetically engineered crops can increase yields, thrive when irrigated with salty water, or produce fruits and vegetables resistant to mold and rot.

The National Academy of Sciences has twice reviewed the safety of GM crops — in 2000 and 2004.3 Those reviews, which focused almost entirely on the genetic aspects of biotechnology, concluded that GM crops pose no unique hazards to human health. They noted that genetic transformation has the potential to produce unanticipated allergens or toxins and might alter the nutritional quality of food. Both reports recommended development of new risk-assessment tools and postmarketing surveillance. Those recommendations have largely gone unheeded.


In our view, the science and the risk assessment supporting the Enlist Duo decision are flawed. The science consisted solely of toxicologic studies commissioned by the herbicide manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s and never published, not an uncommon practice in U.S. pesticide regulation. These studies predated current knowledge of low-dose, endocrine-mediated, and epigenetic effects and were not designed to detect them. The risk assessment gave little consideration to potential health effects in infants and children, thus contravening federal pesticide law. It failed to consider ecologic impact, such as effects on the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. It considered only pure glyphosate, despite studies showing that formulated glyphosate that contains surfactants and adjuvants is more toxic than the pure compound.

The second new development is the determination by the IARC in 2015 that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”1 and 2,4-D a “possible human carcinogen.”2 These classifications were based on comprehensive assessments of the toxicologic and epidemiologic literature that linked both herbicides to dose-related increases in malignant tumors at multiple anatomical sites in animals and linked glyphosate to an increased incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans.

These developments suggest that GM foods and the herbicides applied to them may pose hazards to human health that were not examined in previous assessments. We believe that the time has therefore come to thoroughly reconsider all aspects of the safety of plant biotechnology. The National Academy of Sciences has convened a new committee to reassess the social, economic, environmental, and human health effects of GM crops. This development is welcome, but the committee's report is not expected until at least 2016.

In the meantime, we offer two recommendations. First, we believe the EPA should delay implementation of its decision to permit use of Enlist Duo. This decision was made in haste. It was based on poorly designed and outdated studies and on an incomplete assessment of human exposure and environmental effects. It would have benefited from deeper consideration of independently funded studies published in the peer-reviewed literature. And it preceded the recent IARC determinations on glyphosate and 2,4-D. Second, the National Toxicology Program should urgently assess the toxicology of pure glyphosate, formulated glyphosate, and mixtures of glyphosate and other herbicides.

Finally, we believe the time has come to revisit the United States' reluctance to label GM foods. Labeling will deliver multiple benefits. It is essential for tracking emergence of novel food allergies and assessing effects of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops. It would respect the wishes of a growing number of consumers who insist they have a right to know what foods they are buying and how they were produced. And the argument that there is nothing new about genetic rearrangement misses the point that GM crops are now the agricultural products most heavily treated with herbicides and that two of these herbicides may pose risks of cancer. We hope, in light of this new information, that the FDA will reconsider labeling of GM foods and couple it with adequately funded, long-term postmarketing surveillance.

Link from: http://ecowatch.com/2015/08/24/mark-hyman-labeling-gmos/
Related: http://ecowatch.com/2015/01/23/health-problems-linked-to-monsanto-roundup/



First of all, there’s no data (at least that I know of–feel free to provide if you have it) linking GMOs to the rising prevalence of allergies.
August 13, 2015 at 9:11 pm

TAKEAWAY: "GM foods and the herbicides applied to them" are a package deal. Important overview articles will address open questions on both food allergy and cancer risks.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Wed Mar 9, 2016, 03:33 PM (1 replies)

Top experts (Herbert, Mumper) recommend "a whole food diet that is as organic as possible."

True, neither mentions GMOs but the practical result would be unchanged if they did. And instead of fixating on "cause" how about framing the focus to be "helps vs harms" recovery/overall health. Mischaracterize and mock less, problem solve more.


GENETIC EXPLANATIONS: Sense and Nonsense: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674064461

Headers from Dr. Herbert’s chapter in new Harvard U Press book

Here is the citation for my new chapter:
Herbert, M.R., Autism: From Static Genetic Brain Defect to Dynamic Gene-Environment-Modulated Pathophysiology.
Chapter 10 of Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense.
Krimsky, S. and Gruber, J. eds, Harvard University Press (2012).

The chapter covers similar material to what is in the book THE AUTISM REVOLUTION, but pitched to upper-division undergraduate college students. Here are the chapter’s Section Headers. Please get the book to read more.

Posted by proverbialwisdom | Mon Mar 7, 2016, 09:19 PM (0 replies)

True. However, enough is unknown currently to justify caution, IMO. You may decide differently.(nt)

Posted by proverbialwisdom | Mon Mar 7, 2016, 08:28 PM (0 replies)

Study suggests potential association between "soy formula" & seizures in children w autism (3/13/14)

1) DEVELOPING... This research is preliminary, of course. Watch for the follow-up.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025195414#post75 (caveats)

2) Shocking independent statistic, as posted at the Seattle Children's Hospital website:


Epilepsy in Children

Epilepsy happens more in children than it does in adults. It affects about 1% of the general population - one out of every 100 people. About 5% of children younger than 5 years old have epilepsy. That is about one in every 20 children under 5.

This number does not include children who have seizures caused by a high fever. These kinds of seizures are different from epilepsy. They are called febrile seizures. They either happen only once or only when your child has a fever.


Posted by proverbialwisdom | Mon Mar 7, 2016, 06:12 PM (1 replies)

Here's how retiring NVICP Special Master Denise K. Vowell stated it in Wright v HHS - 9/21/15 (ii).


Posted by proverbialwisdom | Mon Mar 7, 2016, 12:50 PM (1 replies)

Yeah, everything's fine for everybody.

2000: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-09-03/news/0009030374_1_genetically-modified-new-proteins


Living Sick and Dying Young in Rich America
Chronic illness is the new first-world problem.

DEC 19, 2013


The National Academies Press

Shorter Lives, Poorer Health



PLoS One. 2015; 10(4): e0124120.
Published online 2015 Apr 29. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124120
PMCID: PMC4414511
Trends in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Loss, Intellectual Disability, and Vision Impairment, Metropolitan Atlanta, 1991–2010

Kim Van Naarden Braun,* Deborah Christensen, Nancy Doernberg, Laura Schieve, Catherine Rice, Lisa Wiggins, Diana Schendel, and Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp

Developmental Disabilities Branch, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America
University of Tuebingen Medical School, GERMANY

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Conceived and designed the experiments: KVB DC ND MYA. Analyzed the data: KVB DC. Wrote the paper: KVB DC ND LS CR LW DS MYA.


Posted by proverbialwisdom | Sun Mar 6, 2016, 10:30 PM (4 replies)

FYI, such a devastating event is not well understood at the present time. Research is ongoing.

ESSENTIAL SITE: http://www.cdc.gov/sids/ (Page last updated: January 26, 2016)


Fast Facts (Page last updated: February 8, 2016)

Each year in the United States, there are about 3,500 Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). These deaths occur among infants less than 1 year old and have no immediately obvious cause.

The three commonly reported types of SUID are

1. SIDS. About 1,500 infants died of SIDS in 2014.
2. Unknown cause.
3. Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.

Overview timeline: http://www.cdc.gov/sids/suidabout.htm
Last Updated: January 12, 2016: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/spotlight/fact-sheet/frequently-asked-questions-about-sudden-death-young-case-registry


Till It Happens To You (Lady Gaga)
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Mar 4, 2016, 12:50 PM (0 replies)

CommonDreams: Professor Who Exposed Flint Crisis Says Greed Has Killed Public Science


Professor Who Exposed Flint Crisis Says Greed Has Killed Public Science
Academic pressure and financial motives has prohibited scientists from asking important questions

Published on Wednesday, February 03, 2016 by Common Dreams
by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

"I grew up worshiping at the altar of science, and in my wildest dreams I never thought scientists would behave this way," said Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, whose research uncovered high levels of lead in both Flint, Michigan and Washington, D.C. (Photo: Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

"Academic research and scientists in this country are no longer deserving of the public trust," declared Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech civil engineering professor who helped expose the Flint water crisis.

In an interview published in the Chronicle of Higher Education on Tuesday, Edwards explained how the pressures put on academics to secure funding are forcing scientists to abandon work done in the public interest and that similar financial motives are causing government science agencies to ignore inconvenient truths—like high levels of lead in public drinking water.

He said he's "very concerned about the culture of academia in this country and the perverse incentives that are given to young faculty." Edwards describes the culture as a "hedonistic treadmill," with "extraordinary" pressures to pursue funding, publication, and academic clout. Meanwhile, he said, "the idea of science as a public good is being lost."

Edwards, whose research also uncovered high levels of lead in the Washington, D.C. water supply in 2003, was tapped by Flint residents to help test their water after officials with both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) ignored their concerns.

The cases of Flint and Washington, Edwards explained, illustrate how the failure of government scientists to acknowledge a problem, coupled with academia's refusal to question their judgement, can drive serious public health crises.

Posted by proverbialwisdom | Thu Feb 18, 2016, 12:59 AM (1 replies)

Surely, you jest.

Lewis? See the links from BMJ, Nature, Scientific American.

Blaxill? Princeton, Harvard MBA, founding partner 3LP, author, autism dad: SOLID. Best of all, no agenda but problem solving.
More: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026268802#post50

Posted by proverbialwisdom | Tue Feb 16, 2016, 06:49 PM (1 replies)

Organic certified means non-GMO. US has sprayed > 2.4 billion lbs of glyphosate in last decade.


...Organic items must be non-GMO to be certified.

Related: http://www.gmofreeusa.org


Americans At Greater Risk Of Glyphosate Exposure Than Europeans
By Mary Ellen Kustin, Senior Policy Analyst


Americans are more likely than Europeans to be exposed to Monsanto’s glyphosate weed killer. That’s in large part because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s calculations to determine allowable levels of glyphosate use are much more lax than the European Union’s.

And American growers spray a lot of glyphosate.

According to a new paper in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, Americans have sprayed more than 2.4 billion pounds of glyphosate in the past decade.

As Dr. Charles Benbrook points out in his paper, Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops made it possible for growers to spray glyphosate more often – and almost up to harvest time. That leaves more of the weed killer’s residues on the crops.

Moreover, ever since genetically engineered crops came on the market and drove up the use of Roundup, the EPA has been ratcheting up the allowable levels of glyphosate residue for certain crops.

According to Benbrook, “o cover such residues, Monsanto and other glyphosate registrants have requested, and generally been granted, substantial increases in glyphosate tolerance levels in several crops, as well as in the animal forages derived from such crops.”


Posted by proverbialwisdom | Thu Feb 4, 2016, 01:10 PM (1 replies)
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