93% of Unborn babies found to have GMO toxins

If you thought that the fuss over GM crops was over the top then maybe this new study from Canada will make you change your mind. The biotechnology industry has always claimed that a certain genetic pesticide used in the cultivation of genetically-modified (GM) crops does not end up in the human body upon consumption. Not true.

Researchers from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, in Canada have proved that Bt toxin, which is used in GM corn and other crops, definitively makes its way into the blood supply and was found in the bloodstreams of 93 percent of the pregnant women they tested.

If you are feeling complacent because you don’t eat GM modified foods then their study – which was just published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology – reveals that Bt toxin enters the body not only through direct consumption of GMOs, but also from consumption of meat, milk and eggs from animals whose feed contains GMOs. And that is virtually impossible for you to monitor on an individual basis. Among all women tested, 80 percent of the pregnant group tested positive for Bt toxin in their babies’ umbilical cords, but also a staggering 69 percent of non-pregnant women also tested positive for Bt toxin.

GM crops have been given approval in many countries because it was believed (and heavily promoted) that they were the same as conventional crops. The biotechnology industry has claimed for years that the alterations and chemicals used in GM crop cultivation pose no risk whatsoever to human health, and that any GM substances that remain in food are broken down in the digestive system. Now that it has been revealed that such claims are untrue many pressure groups are urging governments to pull GMOs from their food supplies.

“This research is a major surprise as it shows that the Bt proteins have survived the human digestive system and passed into the blood supply — something that regulators said could not happen,” said Pete Riley from GM Freeze, an alliance of organizations united against GMOs. “Regulators need to urgently reassess their opinions, and the EU should use the safeguard clauses in the regulations to prevent any further GM Bt crops being cultivated or imported for animal feed or food until the potential health implications have been fully evaluated.”

I am always wary of research that is funded by the interested parties, and most of the studies that have been used to validate the safety of GMOs have been conducted by the companies that created them in the first place. This does not, to me, make them a credible source for reliable safety data. Although Governments in North and South America, as well as throughout Europe, have essentially welcomed GMOs into the food supply this was based on evidence and reassurances from the companies themselves, and with this new independent study it certainly seems to be time to reassess the situation.

The easier and immediate solution is wherever possible to eat local organic, certified foods where you know their source or point of origin and ensure a reasonably high level of vitamin C intake (500-100mg a day) to help flush toxins from your system.

Language, babies and TV


Parents know that as an unpaid babysitter, television is a highly effective way of keeping children occupied and, hopefully, quiet. But new scientific evidence suggests that doing it too much will cause a child’s development to suffer. If that child is very young the risk is greater of them not being able to improve their social, cognitive and language development.The ‘baby’ language of many children’s programmes such as the Teletubbies can actually decrease a child’s likelihood of learning new words, and it’s passive nature affects their ability to talk, play and interact with others.

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a University of Washington pediatrician, goes a step further and suggests that these negative effects are made worse when the parents are watching as well, which is not what I would have expected. He found that the parents are more likely to be distracted by watching the TV and less likely to interact with the child. He was able to put a number on the problem as he found that for every hour a television was turned on, babies heard 770 fewer words from an adult, and that conversational exchanges between baby and parent dropped 15%, as did the overall number of words spoken by children.

Television is essentially a passive medium, unless you are screaming at the screen during Big Brother, a football match or the final of Britain’s Got Talent.

Christakis found that on average when the TV is switched on, children spend more time in silence and solitude than they do in active social interaction. Even DVD’s aimed at encouraging interaction and education of children show up in this research as having the opposite effect, however good their intention and may even contribute to a drop in learning new words. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages television-watching for babies under 2, and certainly unless it is balanced with a high level of encouragement and interaction from the parents it is certainly a babysitter with distinct drawbacks. Face to face, one on one, with good physical and emotional contact and lots of verbal interaction seems to be the best prescription to enhance a child’s development.