Scientific papers expose health and environment hazards
Two leading European geneticists have cautioned India not to accept genetically modified (GM) crops and food. They said that these products were rejected in Europe and were being willfully dumped in India by the multinational corporations as they could not find enough market in Europe.
The chair of the department of molecular biology in the University of Caen, France, Prof Gilles-Eric Seralini shared with the mediapersons on Friday the findings from his latest path breaking research on the adverse impact of herbicides like glyphosate. Results from his research show that this popularly used herbicide is also a part of the package for herbicide tolerant GM crops like Roundup Ready Soybean. The inert ingredients of Roundup Ready Soybeans can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. Such cases have already occurred in Argentina were Roundup Ready Soybeans are extensively grown.
Another European geneticist, Prof Michael Antoniou , reader in the department of medical and molecular genetics in King’s College, London said : “The only responsible use of genetic engineering is in a contained clinical laboratory setup. The extreme complexity with which genomic regulation works has not been understood by the best of geneticists and it should be remembered that GMOs released in the environment cannot be recalled. Precautionary approach is the only way forward with this technology.”
Seralini and Antoniou are presently in India addressing conferences of health experts, environmentalists and agriculture scientists.
The new Indian minister of state for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh after assuming his office had expressed apprehensions about health and environmental hazards of GM crops and assured to take necessary action before final approval for its commercial release.
Seralini, who is also directly associated with the France-based Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), said : “99% of all GM crops are actually sponges of pesticides – they are either engineered to produce a pesticide or to tolerate a pesticide. This is the case with insect resistant crops like Bt cotton, Bt brinjal and herbicide tolerant crops like GM corn. Given such a technology, the adverse effect on human and animal health is often neglected by developer seed companies and regulatory authorities and this is unacceptable since we are dealing with an irreversible technology.”
“Rats which were GM-fed had diarrhoea, had higher water consumption, suffered from decrease in liver weight as well as decrease in the relative liver to body weight ratio. Feed intake was modified in broiler chickens with glucose in some instances. Average feed conversion and efficiency ratios are changed in GM-fed fish. All that makes a very coherent picture of Bt brinjal to be potentially unsafe for human consumption. It will be also potentially unsafe to eat animals who have these problems. These differences are most often not reported in the summaries of different experiments, but are present in the raw data,”the study added.