2015-08-30

National Academy of Sciences` postmarketing surveillance of #GMO foods

8.29: news.pol/healthcare/gmo
/National Academy of Sciences` postmarketing surveillance of GMO foods:
The New England Journal of Medicine 2015:
by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.
[cornucopia.org 2015]

[Genetically modified (GM) policy is ignoring the science.]
. unlike traditional selective breeding,
genetic engineering vastly expands the range of traits
that can be moved into plants.
Foods produced from GM crops have become ubiquitous.
And unlike regulatory bodies in 64 other countries,
the usa's FDA does not require labeling of GM foods.

. the argument that [gm foods are equivalent to non-gmo]
misses the point that GM crops are now
the most heavily treated with herbicides
and that two of these herbicides may pose risks of cancer.

The National Academy of Sciences has twice reviewed
the safety of GM crops — in 2000 and 2004.
[eg, National Research Council, Committee on
Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of
Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health.
Safety of genetically engineered foods:
approaches to assessing unintended health effects.
Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2004]
Those reviews, which focused almost entirely on
the genetic aspects of biotechnology,
concluded that GM crops pose no unique hazards to human health.
[however] They noted that
genetic transformation has the potential to produce
unanticipated allergens or toxins
and might alter the nutritional quality of food.
Both reports have made recommendations
that have largely gone unheeded:
we need development of new risk-assessment tools
and postmarketing surveillance.
[ in other words we need more than gmo labeling;
we need to label which genetic modifications
are contained in the product;
so that if you have an adverse event,
it can be identified with a particular gm variant.]

Two recent developments are dramatically changing
the GMO landscape.

First, there have been sharp increases in the amounts and numbers
of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops,
and still further increases — the largest in a generation —
are scheduled to occur in the next few years.

Second, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GM crops,
as a “probable human carcinogen”[Lancet Oncol 2015]
and classified a second herbicide, 2,4-D
(2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid),
as a “possible human carcinogen.” [Lancet Oncol 2015]
These classifications were based on comprehensive assessments
of the toxicologic and epidemiologic literature
that linked both herbicides to dose-related increases
in malignant tumors at multiple anatomical sites in animals,
and linked glyphosate to an increased incidence of
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans.

. widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant crops
has led to overreliance on herbicides and, in particular,
on glyphosate. In the United States,
glyphosate use has increased by a factor of more than 250
— from 0.4 million kg in 1974
to 113 million kg in 2014.
Global use has increased by a factor of more than 10.
Not surprisingly, glyphosate-resistant weeds have emerged
and are found today on nearly 100 million acres in 36 states.
Fields must now be treated with multiple herbicides,
including 2,4-D, [yet another likely carcinogen].

. a 2014 decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
approved Enlist Duo, a new combination herbicide
comprising glyphosate plus 2,4-D.
The EPA anticipates a 3-to-7-fold increase in 2,4-D.

. the science and the risk assessment
supporting the EPA's Enlist Duo decision
are flawed.
The science consisted solely of toxicologic studies
commissioned by the herbicide manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s
and never published,
not an uncommon practice in U.S. pesticide regulation.
These studies predated current knowledge of
low-dose, endocrine-mediated, and epigenetic effects
and were not designed to detect them.
The risk assessment gave little consideration to
potential health effects in infants and children,
thus contravening federal pesticide law.
It considered only pure glyphosate, despite studies showing that
formulated glyphosate that contains surfactants and adjuvants
is more toxic than the pure compound.
And it preceded the recent IARC determinations on
glyphosate and 2,4-D as probable carcinogens.

These developments suggest that GM foods,
due to the herbicides applied to them,
may pose hazards to human health
that were not examined in previous assessments.
The National Academy of Sciences has convened a new committee
to reassess the social, economic, environmental,
and human health effects of GM crops.
but the committee’s report is not expected until
at least 2016 [and will be ignored again,
unless there is popular pressure for political change.]

recommendations:
First, the EPA should delay implementation of
its decision to permit use of Enlist Duo.
Second, the National Toxicology Program
should urgently assess the toxicology of
pure glyphosate, formulated glyphosate,
and mixtures of glyphosate and other herbicides.
Finally,
the FDA should reconsider labeling of GM foods
and couple it with adequately funded, long-term
postmarketing surveillance.
Labeling is essential for assessing effects of
chemical herbicides applied to GM crops,
and tracking the emergence of novel food allergies
[ denied by industry-funded science
but supported by "people who sell books".
. one problem discussing this issue is that
those worried about "allergies" are actually referring to
inflammatory responses. [mercola 2014]]