There has been an overwhelming amount of evidence and consensus across the scientific community when it comes to GM foods regarding their safety. Even with that being said there has been a huge international movement that either intentionally or unintentionally denies the clear scientific evidence that shows the safety of GM foods. Fearmongering pundits like “The Food Babe” or pseudo news sources like “Natural News” help feed into this movement of disinformation by either cherry picking less then credible sources or resorting to whole cloth lies.
What most, if not all of these sources that spend their time crying wolf fail to tell anyone is that genetic modification of crops has been going on for millennia. Shocked to hear this? We know there were no laboratories or scientists millennia ago working to change the DNA structure of foods, or mad scientists cackling in their labs as they crossbred Lima Beans with Reptilian DNA to brainwash everyone who ate them into buying the latest Nikki Minaj album. Sound silly? Well that is about as reasonable as the hype out there against GMOs.
Genetic modification has, for ages, involved cross-pollinating various strains of crops in hopes of creating a strain that held the desirable traits from the strains being crossed be that flavor, color, disease resistance or drought hardiness. All of this was done by non-scientists, by actual farmers who just knew their crops, knew which ones fared better against which issues they might have to face from year to year and to keep their farms going, they created GMOs.
Those who call for GMO labeling often do not understand that there is, in fact, little difference between GMO and non-GMO foods and that to label something that, like a tomato that has been modified to be able to fare better in transit, as GMO would cause more harm than good as a result of the suspicions that are rampant over GMO foods. Not many people know that things like the bananas we eat today have been genetically modified from their natural, wild state to be easier for u to consume, would you want to eat a banana that was full of hard seeds? Here is what your store-bought banana’s wild cousin looks like. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Inside_a_wild-type_banana.jpg )
One of the interesting things about the furor over GMOs is that many of those railing against genetically modified foods are just fine with their genetically modified pets, flowers, lawns and other things that they feel lend to making their lives better or happier, and yet, with little or no understanding of what they are fighting against, as with those in the anti-vaccination movement blindly following along after Jenny McCarthy’s bouncing breasts.
Sites like Collective Evolution, known for its promotion of ridiculous pseudoscientific claims about cures, cleanses and other such things posted an article claiming to show ten studies that showed that GMOs were in fact harmful, in each case it was found that the studies were improperly done, blatantly false, not peer reviewed among other things but they would prefer to maintain the air of fear and mistrust regardless of actual facts revealing their lies.
( http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/01/26/10-studies-proving-gmos-are-harmful-not-if-science-matters/ )
The GMO debate has remarkable similarity to other topics, take creationism for instance. There are tremendous amounts of supporting evidence showing that evolution is a scientific fact, yet there is a very large number of people who would rather believe in unfounded, superstitious, religious nonsense, to the point that they would kill themselves and others in the name of their beliefs.
As crazy as it sounds, some people believe that giving an autistic child a solution similar to industrial bleach would cure their autistic child, absurd right? Well there is(was) an alternative medical product called “Miracle Minerals” that had that exact chemical make-up and claimed to cure a variety of things including influenza and autism the creators of this product even claimed it could cure HIV, scary right? Well what’s even scarier is the fact that people actually believed the claims of this alt-med product, and to make matters worse, a few even swore by it! It wasn’t until children started dying that anything was done about this. The BBC investigation into the bleach they wanted children to drink. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london33079776
While some people are advocating feeding bleach to your children, others are telling you Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is going to bring about the end
of the world, or destroy the ecosystem altogether, give us all Cancer and who knows what else, do these same people take the time to warn you about the evils of your favorite air freshener spray,
laundry soap or favorite household cleaner? Can you tell which safety warning belongs to what, and which belongs to Roundup?
________________________________________________________Health Hazards (Acute and Chronic)
Eye Contact: Mild eye irritant
Signs and Symptoms of Exposure:
Ingestion:Possible mild gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
Eye Contact: Do not spray directly toward face. If eye contact occurs, rinse well with water.
Skin: Prolonged skin contact or instillation into the eye may result in transient, superficial effects similar to those produced by mild toilet soap.
Inhalation:Inhalation of high concentrations of ethanol vapor may cause irritation of the eyes and respiratorytract, drowsiness, and fatigue.
Health Hazards (Acute and Chronic):Ingestion: May cause transient gastrointestinal irritation.
Eye Contact: May cause mild, transient irritation.
Inhalation: Transient irritation with prolonged exposure to concentrated material.
Signs and Symptoms of Exposure:
Ingestion:May result in nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
Eye Contact:May cause stinging, tearing, itching, swelling, and/or redness.
Skin:Prolonged contact with concentrated material may be drying or transiently irritating to skin
EYE IRRITANT. Prolonged or frequent skin contact may cause an allergic reaction.
CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE.
DO NOT spray towards face. Avoid contact with eyes and skin. CONTAINER MAY
EXPLODE IF HEATED. Do not puncture or incinerate container. DO NOT expose to heat
or store at temperatures above 120°F (49°C) as the container may burst.
Potential short term health effects
Routes of exposure
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS.
Eye, Skin contact, Inhalation.
Eyes None expected during normal conditions of use.
May cause eye irritation upon direct contact with the eyes.
Skin None expected during normal conditions of use.
Prolonged or frequent skin contact may cause an allergic reaction.
Inhalation: None expected during normal conditions of use.
Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents may be
harmful or fatal.
Ingestion Health injuries are not known or expected under normal use.
The finished product is not expected to have chronic health effects.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of overexposure may be headache, dizziness, tiredness, nausea and
OSHA Regulatory Status
This product is a “Hazardous Chemical” as defined by the OSHA
________________________________________________________Potential health effects
Likely routes of exposure Skin contact, eye contact
Eye contact, short term. May cause temporary eye irritation.
Skin contact, short term. Not expected to produce significant adverse effects when recommended use instructions are followed.
Inhalation, short term
Not expected to produce significant adverse effects when recommended use instructions are followed.
As many scholars and psychologists will tell you, people tend to believe only what they want to believe, what’s worse is, even when science shows clear evidence for something, many people will still believe in nonsense to one degree or another. This is where the words of a famous skeptic/ founding father/ former US. President ring most clearly: “Ridicule and scorn are the most effective weapons when confronting unintelligible concepts; ideas must be distinct before ration may act upon them.” -Thomas Jefferson.
Not only is it perfectly acceptable to ridicule someone who believes and spreads in utter nonsense as truth, in fact it is almost a duty of anyone who is scientifically literate to lay bare for all to see, the falsehoods and misleading stories being put out there by people who would rather have fifteen minutes of fame for fighting against “evil GMOs” than spread actual facts and knowledge. Nonsense, like a bad cold, spreads all too quickly and can cause great harm, as evidenced by the Measles outbreak we saw recently in California.
Based upon studies done by various entities, while there is in fact a risk of health hazard from exposure to Roundup, there is equal or greater risk from countless common household chemicals, including laundry soap, glass cleaner, general purpose cleaners, the environmental and long term risks are blown out of proportion by people who would like to raise a panic for whatever reason they may have, who can say; but then who knows what goes on in the mind of someone who wants to start a panic, someone who would yell fire in a crowded theater, tell you that vaccines will cause your child to have Autism, or that having your child drink bleach or giving them a bleach enema will cure Autism. It everyone’s responsibility to be skeptical, to ask questions and not accept something that sounds either too good, or too bad to be true at face value.
We live in a world where people get their information from media sound bites and sensational headlines. Look on your own FaceBook feed, you will find people responding to little more than the first few words of a post, or the headline of an article you posted without having bothered to open, much less read the article, is it any wonder these lies spread as far and wide and fast as they do? It is not unlike the “If it bleeds it leads” media model, the more sensationalized, scary or dangerous something can be made to sound, the more people will pass it along, most of them without taking even a moment to stop and say “Is this true?”
While we cannot expect that every person who comes across valid, scientific information that disproves the horror stories and falsehoods will necessarily believe it, we can still hope that perhaps even one or two people will take the time to stop and question that next sensational story that comes across their feed and perhaps they will join the ranks of those working to break the chain of dangerous disinformation. -AAPN
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