Nod your head at your screen if you’ve heard this one: Eating GMOs genetically modifies us.
How about this? GMO feed is making it more difficult for livestock to reproduce.
Or this? GMO runoff is getting into the water and altering the genetic makeup of fish.
Maybe it wasn’t one of those, but chances are you’ve heard one horror story or another about the dangers of GMOs to us, to animals and to the environment. All of the statements above are just that – stories. We don’t have any scientific evidence that they’re true.
The unknown nature of GMOs can be pretty scary. But the real truth is, when it comes to GMOs there’s a lot we still don’t know. That includes how eating GMOs will (or won’t) affect our own health in the long run.
But here’s what we do know. The use of GMO crops in the US has led to a 7% increase in pesticide use. Widespread planting of certain GMO crops like corn and soy is leading to the development of weeds and insects that are resistant to the pesticides that are used with or actually growing inside of these GMO crops. That means that every year, more and more farmers need to increase their use of pesticides to fight the resistant insects and weeds. GMO crops have put us on a pesticide treadmill that’s rapidly ramping up farmers’ use of these chemicals.
Scientific studies are beginning to show that exposure to pesticides can lead to health and behavioral problems, especially among infants and children. According to the President’s Cancer Panel, eating food grown without pesticides can also help decrease the risk of contracting cancer.
That’s why foods produced with GMOs should be labeled. There’s too much we don’t know, and what we do know about the link between GMOs and pesticides isn’t pretty. By labeling foods made with GMOs, we have the choice to do our part attempting to collectively curb the increase in pesticide use that’s been proven bad for us. And we can opt out of the giant science experiment happening in our food system.
Even if GMOs haven’t been proven to directly harm our health, they haven’t been proven harmless either. And that’s scary enough for us.