While there are a plethora of arguments that support GMOs, critics have piled up a few disadvantages of genetically modified foods. It is best to read both sides of the argument and listen to what the critics are saying before taking a side on such a controversial issue. Here are some of the many arguments that critics of GMOs have piled:
– GMOs are bad for our health and cause more problems than they solve. That is, there are more disadvantages of genetically modified foods than advantages. A few studies on animals have been done so far, illustrating organ damage, disorders in the immune and gastrointestinal system, infertility in some rare cases, and aging faster. Furthermore, human studies have shown that GM foods may leave certain, unhealthy material inside our body which can in turn cause problems in the long run. To illustrate, DNA inserted into GM soy can in turn transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us. Also, remains of a toxic insecticide produced by a GM corn was reported to be found in a pregnant women. To provide some empirical, after GMOs were introduced in 1996, Americans with three or more chronic illnesses increased dramatically from about 6.8% to nearly 12.9%. This happened in nearly ten years! For instance, autism, reproductive disorders, and other digestive problems have increased. Interestingly, the increase in food allergies has also been very dramatic.
– GMOs are known to increase herbicide use. Many GM crops have been (and are) engineered so that they are tolerant of herbicides. This is important because herbicides are used to kill weeds. Crops care engineered so that they are tolerant of these chemicals. However, while this may seem beneficial, between 1996, when GMOs were introduced, and 2009, farmers in the US sprayed an extra of nearly four hundred pounds of herbicide on GMOs. The downside of this is that using so much results in so-called “superweeds” which are resistant to herbicides through natural selection. In turn, this causes farmers to spray even more of these toxic herbicides as time passes by in an attempt to kill of the weeds. The use of all these herbicides are very harmful to the environment and GM foods may contain residues of these toxic herbicides. Many of these chemicals cause health issues, such as infertility, birth defects, and even cancer. These are some horrible disadvantages of genetically modified foods.
– There are many hazardous and unpredictable side effects of GMOs. Mixing genes from species that are not related creates many side effects, several of which we are currently not aware of. Inserting genes into plants and even animals may produce new allergens, carcinogens, and toxins and unleash them into the environment.
– Government is not regulating enough. Many of the environmental and health risks posed by GMOs are ignored by the government. The government is only imposing superficial safety assessments that are not doing much. The FDA does not mandate a single safety study and GMOs. It does not require the labeling of GMOs either. As a result, consumers are unaware of what they are eating. There have been no long-term studies and the government is ignoring this fact. Instead, it has mandated that the FDA continue to promote biotechnology.
– Private research and reporting has been suppressed and besieged. Independent scientists who discover and investigate problems associated with GMOs have been threatened, denied funding, and even fired for simply conducting research. Many attempts by the media to expose and illustrate these problems are censored. While these are not necessarily disadvantages of genetically modified foods, they illustrate possible problems which we consumers do not have knowledge of due to censorship.
– GMOs are widely known to harm the environment. GM crops and the herbicides used with them harm the many organisms including birds, insects, marine ecosystems, and amphibians. Furthermore, they cause a reduction in biodiversity and pollute water resources, harming the whole living world. These are major disadvantages of genetically modified foods.
– GMOs are not proven to increase yields. The main argument that supporters of GMOs hold is that they increase yield, and thus, help feed a hungry world. However, this is false. Non-GMO methods used in the developing countries have resulted in large yield increases of about 80%. On the other hand, GMOs do not increase yields, as proven by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2009.
There are a plethora of disadvantages of genetically modified foods. Whether you support the genetic engineering of foods or not, it is vital that you are aware of both the advantages and the disadvantages of genetically modified foods. This topic will continue to be a hotly debated one for many years in the foreseeable future, so stay updated on any new information and breakthroughs!
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