The Union of Concerned Scientists has revealed that while GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health; they are yet without benefit.  The AAEM believes it is imperative to adopt the precautionary principle, which is one of the main regulatory tools of the European Union environmental and health policy and serves as a foundation for several international agreements. The 1992 Rio Declaration states: "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."  An environmental meeting in the USA in 1998 states: "When an activity raises threats to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context, the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof (of the safety of the activity)."  After a few thousand animal trials over more than 2 decades, GMO's have been shown to cause harmful physical effects:  infertility, significant immune dysregulation & upregulation of cytokines [asthma/allergy/inflammation]; dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation & modification, altered lipid & carbohydrate metabolism; altered structure & function of the liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen & gastrointestinal system; intestinal damage, including proliferative cell growth9 and disruption of the intestinal immune system... & cellular changes that could lead to accelerated aging & possibly to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).  A 2008 study links GM corn with infertility, showing a significant decrease in offspring over time and significantly lower litter weight in mice.  Reportedly, in the GM-fed mice, more than 400 genes were found to be expressed differently.  From a GM foods position paper...

With the precautionary principle in mind, because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm, the AAEM asks:


  • Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.

  • Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease processes of the patients they treat and to document any changes in patient health when changing from GM food to non-GM food.

  • Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects, begin epidemiological research to investigate the role of GM foods on human health, and conduct safe methods of determining the effect of GM foods on human health.

  • For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers.

(This statement was reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine on May 8, 2009.)

Response to article submitted by Amy Dean, D.O. and Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. to aaemonline.com

 

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