Is Genetically Modified Corn Safe? New Study May Shine Some Light
Last week Russian authorities placed a temporary ban on imports of a genetically modified (GM) maize produced by Monsanto as a result of a controversial new cancer study. Russia’s institute of Nutrition is currently reviewing the study to see whether further action needs to be taken, causing a large scale debate, according to Food Navigator.
The study found that rats fed Monsanto’s GMO NK603 over a two year period were more likely to develop certain types of cancer than those that were fed the non GM variety.
"Until we receive the full information in this case, the import and sale of genetically modified NK603 corn is being temporarily suspended," the Russian agency said in a statement posted on its website.
Monsanto played down the statement: "Russia is a net exporter of grain, so the actual impact of their temporary suspension, if any, is likely to be small," a Monsanto spokesman said in a statement, claiming that the safety of NK603 corn was “well established," as seen on The New American.
Long Term Peer Reviewed Study
It was the first long term peer reviewed study of its kind on the health impact of GM corn. The two year study uses what would be considered safe and normal levels of the GM maize or glyphosate itself, the active ingredient in Round Up. The GM crops are created to be resistant to Round Up, meaning farmers can use excessive amounts of the pesticide on their crops without killing the crop itself. But this research showed that even small amounts can cause liver, kidney, and mammary disturbances.
Frederic Vincent, the spokesman for the European Commission is also looking at the study to make a decision as to what more should be done.
More Use of Pesticides Than Ever Before
While this study, published in the The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal is larger and getting more attention, this isn’t the first slash against glyphosate. Glyphosate is the largest selling herbicide and it's a main ingredient in Roundup, one of the most popular and widely used herbicides in the U.S.
Another study shows that even when it's diluted to .02 percent of what is sprayed on crops it can cause DNA damage. The study found that inhaling glyphosate causes acute membrane damage, impairment of mitochondrial functions, and damage to DNA.
While the research is certainly in its infancy, it calls into question the sheer amounts farmers are using on American crops. Farmers use five times more weed killers on their crops then they did in 1997, and with 94 percent of soybeans and 72 percent of corn being grown this way, herbicide use has exploded, according to a story in The New York Times. Why should we be the last nation to look closely at GM crop use?
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