The rising number of people and populations mean there are many more mouths to feed in the world. With 842 million people starving today (Price, 1), farms and food production businesses are forced to create larger amounts of food with less space available, leading to an increased production in what can become a deadly diet, GMOs. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms and involves both plants and animals that are chemically engineered to grow larger and last longer.
This artificial “healthy” food is put into the diet of people, most often without their awareness. Animals are force fed antibiotics that should not be in their diet, and plants are poisoned with ingredients that are hostile to the human body. Many people are not aware of what GMOs are or why they are dangerous, yet GMOs are distributed throughout the most commonly sold farm foods. The negative impact of both plant and animal GMOs exceed the positive. It is true that GMOs can be preserved longer than organic foods; however, GMOs come with several negative impacts.
The negative impacts of genetically modified organisms include not only their unnatural farming, but also the result of their consumption and their growth issues, which is why GMOs should be made illegal. First, Genetically Modified Organisms, which include both plants and animals, are created in an unnatural way. They are produced to kill bugs, as seen with pesticides, and resist herbicides, but can lead to more harm than good. Plants, such as corn and soy, are the most commonly grown and purchased foods in the United States with almost 100 percent of corn and soy being GMOs.
These plants are genetically engineered to grow taller, stronger, and better than organic plants. They have enhanced properties that allow them to be resistant to both pesticides and herbicides so that weed killer does not kill them and bugs will not eat them. While insects eat the plants and die from them, the plant is still being eaten. The way the pesticide works is the insects eat the plant and the chemical properties of the pesticides then kill the insects from the inside out. While the insects are killed, these pesticide properties do similar damage to people.
When humans eat GMO foods with pesticides, these chemicals burn through the tissues of their digestive system. The chemical burns eventually lead to ulcers and even burn holes in the intestines. Relatedly, herbicide plants affect more of the surrounding plants. Herbicide GMOs are created through genetic engineering to resist herbicide sprays and continue growing while the unwanted plants and weeds around them are killed. Although this may be effective initially, stronger weeds are gradually created.
While herbicide resistant plants grow, the weeds near them that resisted the spray absorb fractions of the GMO plants herbicidal properties, allowing the weeds to become immune to the herbicides as well. This process creates more work for the farmers and increases the amount of finances spent on herbicides annually, causing an increased amount of herbicides to be used each time. Some weeds have been known to grow up to 5 feet tall and removing them becomes problematic (Enyeart). In addition, farm animals are also manipulated with these harmful GMOs.
Usually paid for by chain fast food restaurants, industrial farmers force hundreds of thousands of animals into tiny spaces (Smith) and feed them food loaded with antibiotics. These animals then grow at abnormal rates and produce more meat. While this meat can be sold much cheaper, it does not have worthy nutritional value and contains medicinally used antibiotics. Therefore, because meat is produced with antibiotics and plants are grown with pesticide and herbicide qualities, GMOs are produced in an unnatural way and can have a dangerous impact on the health of those who eat them.
Next, due to the unnatural way that GMOs are producing foods, studies have found these altered foods are creating more disabilities among consumers, raising levels of infertility, and disrupting the effectiveness of antibiotics on bacteria. Each year, crops are blanketed in herbicides and pesticides while animals are fed mass numbers of antibiotics in hopes of creating the best food. Yet each year more people are diagnosed with disabilities such as Autism (Smith). In fact, GMOs have been found to hold connections too many disabilities.
Those who eat GMO’s are consuming false nutrition, this is similar to a baby being fed just formula, and no breast milk. People who eat GMOs do not get the full and natural benefits of what they would have gained if they had eaten organic foods instead. There is evidence that some of the chemicals which replace the nutritional content of GMOs are leading towards alterations in DNA thus resulting in disabilities. In Jeffrey M. Smith’s movie “Genetic Roulette”, he discusses the health risks that GMOs cause and how they go unnoticed until it is too late: “You ever hear of anybody who smoked a cigarette and died of lung cancer in 90 days?
No. It takes years… same as it does for rats. Those 2,000 GMO-funded studies… they’re all 90 day studies. ” These same short term tests are what’s going towards efforts to study the effects of antibiotic fed cows on humans. Jennifer Weeks explains in her article on page 4, “Factory Farms”, each year, cows are fed about 20 million pounds of antibiotics are fed to cows to stimulate growth; each year, millions of people eat those same cows and get sick. This happens because the antibiotics that are supposed the fight off the bacteria are no longer effective.
The bacteria have already developed an immunity to the antibiotics prescribed by doctors. The immunity is developed because most of these antibiotics, “including penicillin and erythromycin, are chemically similar or identical to drugs used by humans” (Weeks, 4). GMOs are causing even greater risks to the future of Americans health in fertility; “Those who regularly ingest GMO foods are more likely to be sick, age faster and have a harder time getting (and staying) pregnant” (Rodriguez,1).
However, it is not just the fact hat females are struggling more and more to become pregnant, it also has to do with the men. Hethir Rodriguez even says in her article “Research Indicates That GMO Could Be a Cause of Infertility” on page 1, as the consumption of genetically modified foods has drastically increased over just a few years, sperm count in men has dropped by almost half of what it used to be. Not only do GMOs affect ability to conceive, but many of the chemicals in these foods will go on to affect the health of the developing fetus as well.
A study in Helke Ferrie’s article, “Evidence Grows of Harmful Effects of GMOs on Human Health”, on page 13 found that 93 percent of fetuses whose mothers ate genetically modified foods are found contaminated in the womb with GMO-related toxins. These chemicals predominately create risks for the baby to have more allergens to certain chemicals or foods and to develop a disability. If more people knew about the effect GMOs have on their fertility, especially those trying and struggling to have a child, they would indubitably find these facts important.
Due to their known connection to health issues, such as the effects of antibiotics on illnesses, prevent pregnancies, and increase the likelihood of future generations developing disabilities, GMOs should be made illegal. Finally, genetically engineered crops have shown failure in surviving fluctuated natural weather; they also show a decline in growing rate unlike organic plants. When growing, organic plants not only benefit the environment, but they benefit the soil they grow on.
Organic plants that do not survive will fall naturally and replenish the soil beneath. This allows the soil to further nourish growing plants nearby. What lives will eventually die, providing for the next thing to grow in its place. Genetically modified plants grow as they are intended, but their pesticides prevent bugs like bees from helping them pollinate other plants. When the genetically modified plant dies, it decomposes into the ground and poisons the soil.
Not only is that poisoned soil prevented from nourishing the nearby plants, but the next rain will simply wash the chemicals into nearby waters. This creates unhealthy cycle throughout the environment which affects all of the animals and plants for miles around. Furthermore, GMOs do not always survive the environment they are put in. When put in the same conditions as organic plants, genetically engineered plants fail at showing resistance to drought and extreme weather. Although when put next to one another, GMO crops sprout faster than organic.
However, over time, organic plants actually speed up in growth making them equal. This proves that organic plants are what’s intended to be grown and eaten. not GMOs. Unfortunately, companies that own GMO farms have enough money to buy out small organic farms easily, and the weather seems help the problem. When the weather gets windy, the wind can brush pollen off of GMO plants and onto the crops in a nearby organic farm. This pollen will alter the DNA of the organic crops and they will begin to show similar genetically modified qualities.
This legally allows large GMO companies to sue and take over those small farms for illegally growing their product. Therefore GMOs create a negative impact not only on the land they grow on but for the small farming businesses nearby, all the while they do not grow as successfully as organic plants do. Some people believe that cows are not always given antibiotics for growth, and third world countries may benefit from the sustainability of GMO crops since 12 percent of the Earth’s population is malnourished (Price, 1).
However this is wrong because although more cows are given antibiotics to stop illness, the bacteria in the cow builds a tolerance to the antibiotic, which makes the antibiotic less effective for humans who eat the meat and get the bacterial infection. Additionally, GMOs are less viable for feeding third world countries because if GMO farms were replaced with organic farms, third world countries would not only have organic foods to eat, but more jobs could be produced for those who are unemployed.
As organic plants last better in inclement weather, this would benefit those countries who are commonly experience harsh weather such as droughts and hurricanes. For these reasons, it is justifiable that “Not only are GE foods less nutritious than non-GE foods, they pose distinct health risks, are inadequately regulated, harm the environment and farmers, and are a poor solution to world hunger” (Smith). Therefore, not only would making GMOs illegal be better for the environment, but it would be healthier for the people and contribute to financial benefits.
GMOs have clear negative impact on the environment, on the overall health of those consuming them, and on the increasing demand of food supply. This makes organic foods the conqueror for healthy food alternatives and validates the reason for ending the legalization of GMOs. In order to push for genetically modified organisms to become illegal, a bill must first be passed. The Congress will then take the proper course of action in eliminating these poisonous foods from the United States.