kid in bubbleThe numbers are staggering.  
Approximately 30 million – one third –  of all American children have one (or more) of these disorders –   Autism, Allergies, ADHD, and Asthma. 

Know as the 4-A disorders, the numbers of those affected continue to grow with little public outcry. What does the future hold for our little ones? Life in a bubble?

Consider these statistics:

  • Austism has increased from approximately 1 in every 2,500 to 10,000 births to one in every 150-166 births over just the past 20 years. This is a 15-fold to 60-fold increase; 1500% to 6000%.
  • In the US, one in every 150 children is affected by autism. In New Jersey the rate of autism is even higher – one in every 94 and one in 60 boys is affected.
  • The lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 million to $5 million, and that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism.
  • One in 11 children struggles with asthma, making it the leading serious chronic illness of children in the U.S.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

food-inc-posterMake sure you add “Food, Inc.” to your must-see movie list this summer.  Filmmaker, Robert Kenner, reveals the real workings of our nation’s food industry. 

How much do we really know about the food we buy at our local supermarket and serve to our families?  It’s time to find out and be more informed about our food choices.

Watch the trailer: http://www.foodincmovie.com/

Also worth watching is this month’s NOW on PBS Interview with Robert Kenner: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/523/index.html

According to the USDA, in 2007, 91% of soy, 87% of cotton, and 73% of corn grown in the U.S. were GMO. Starting in 2008, virtually all of the U.S. sugar beet crop is GMO, and it is estimated that over 75% of canola grown is GMO. There are also commercially produced GM varieties of squash and Hawaiian Papaya. As a result, it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. or Canadian grocery store.

See also: 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Food

http://www.nongmoproject.org/about/gmo-faqs/

By Jeffrey M. Smith

On May 19th, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on “Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.” They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling. AAEM’s position paper stated, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation,” as defined by recognized scientific criteria. “The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”

More and more doctors are already prescribing GM-free diets. Dr. Amy Dean, a Michigan internal medicine specialist, and board member of AAEM says, “I strongly recommend patients eat strictly non-genetically modified foods.” Ohio allergist Dr. John Boyles says “I used to test for soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered, it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it.”

Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM, says, “Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions.” World renowned biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava goes one step further. After reviewing more than 600 scientific journals, he concludes that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a major contributor to the sharply deteriorating health of Americans.

Pregnant women and babies at great risk

Among the population, biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that “children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems” related to GM foods. He says without adequate studies, the children become “the experimental animals.” Read the rest of this entry »

This report by the Union of Concerned Scientists expert Doug Gurian-Sherman, a former biotech specialist with the US Environmental Protection Agency, shows that “despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase US crop yields.”

The report reviews the literature on yield for the primary GM food/feed crops, soybeans and maize. The report also evaluates the USDA field trial record for GM traits associated with yield over the past 20 years, and discusses the challenges ahead for more complex yield genes, such as transcription factors and signal transduction genes, now being considered by the industry.

The report finds that genetically engineered “soybeans have not increased yields, and GE corn has increased yield only marginally on a crop-wide basis.” “Overall, corn and soybean yields have risen substantially over the last 15 years, but largely not as a result of the GE traits. Most of the gains are due to traditional breeding or improvement of other agricultural practices.”

“If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields. Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down,” it concludes.

The report can be downloaded from:
http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.pdf

Reacting to a growing public health problem, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $466,125 research grant to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine to investigate the mechanisms that make food allergies occur and pinpoint what triggers them. Within the biotechnology sector, EPA regulates the proteins used as pesticides that are introduced to our food supply and aims to ensure that these do not have adverse health impacts. The innovative microbiology study will examine the genetic factors that contribute to the spread of food allergy by closely examining its pathogenesis or step-by-step development.

“Food allergies affect six to eight percent of children in the U.S., but there is a shortage of information on how food allergies develop and how to prevent them,” said George Pavlou, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. “An important component of EPA’s biotechnology research is to improve our understanding of the health effects from genetically engineering proteins. This study will bring us closer to identifying environmental or dietary triggers that lead to food allergy.”

To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetically engineered foods have been documented in the human population. However, the majority of soybeans, as well as large proportions of corn, canola, and cotton crops produced worldwide are genetically engineered with custom made proteins for resistance to pests. The results of the EPA funded research will be used to better predict if the development of dietary allergens is connected with genetic engineering of foods.

EPA regulates the use of all pesticides in the U.S., including pesticide proteins introduced into food through genetic engineering. EPA has a regulatory power to establish acceptable levels for pesticide residues and evaluate human health and ecological risks under authority of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

For more details about the project go to: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.abstractDetail/abstract/8939/report/0

For years, the biotechnology industry has trumpeted that it will feed the world, promising that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields.

That promise has proven to be empty, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields.

“The biotech industry has spent billions on research and public relations hype, but genetically engineered food and feed crops haven’t enabled American farmers to grow significantly more crops per acre of land,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, a biologist in the UCS Food and Environment Program and author of the report. “In comparison, traditional breeding continues to deliver better results.”

The report, “Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops,” is the first to closely evaluate the overall effect genetic engineering has had on crop yields in relation to other agricultural technologies. It reviewed two dozen academic studies of corn and soybeans, the two primary genetically engineered food and feed crops grown in the United States. Based on those studies, the UCS report concluded that genetically engineering herbicide-tolerant soybeans and herbicide-tolerant corn has not increased yields. Insect-resistant corn, meanwhile, has improved yields only marginally. The increase in yields for both crops over the last 13 years, the report found, was largely due to traditional breeding or improvements in agricultural practices. Read the rest of this entry »