Effects of GMOs on Children
Excerpted from Jeffrey M. Smith’s Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
“Swapping genes between organisms can produce unknown toxic effects and allergies that are most likely to affect children.”13 —Vyvyan Howard, expert in infant toxico-pathology at Liverpool University Hospital, United Kingdom
Changes in nutrition have a greater impact on the structure and functioning of young, fast-growing bodies. More of the food is converted to build organs and tissues, whereas adults convert more to energy and store this as fat.
The UK Royal Society said that genetic modification “could lead to unpredicted harmful changes in the nutritional state of foods” and recommended that potential health effects of GM foods be rigorously researched before being fed to pregnant or breast-feeding women and babies.”14 Epidemiologist Eric Brunner said that “small changes to the nutritional content might have effects on infant bowel function.”15
Children are more susceptible to problems
Children are three to four times more prone to allergies than adults and “are at highest risk of death from food allergy.” 16 Infants below two years old have the highest incidence of reactions, especially to new allergens encountered in the diet. Even tiny amounts of allergens can sometimes cause reactions. One reason for this sensitivity, according to the EPA, is that “An immature gut or permeable mucosal epithelium is more likely to allow a higher degree of macromolecular transport and access to the immune system than the intact barrier of a normal mature gut. . . . The immune system must also be of sufficient maturity. . . . Both systems appear to be functioning optimally by age three to five.”17
According to the Royal Society of Canada, “The potentially widespread use of GM food products as food additives and staple foods, including use in baby foods, may lead to earlier introduction of these novel proteins to susceptible infants either directly or via the presence of the maternally ingested proteins in breast milk.”18
Children can react to much smaller doses of toxins than adults. Exposure to hormones or endocrine disruptors may also severely affect normal development. And children who are prone to infections may be severely impacted if antibiotics lose their effectiveness due to antibiotic-resistant genes in GM food and the overuse of antibiotics in rbGH treated cows.
Children have a high exposure to GMOs
Children consume a large amount of products that may be genetically engineered. Their diet consists of a higher percentage of corn compared to adults, and allergic children often rely on corn as a source of protein. Cornstarch as a talc substitute on children’s skin may also expose them via inhalation. Infants are sometimes reared on soy infant formula. Among the potential side effects are changes in soy’s natural estrogen mimickers, which may influence sexual development.
[information below from Jeffrey Smith’s “Removing Junk Foods (and GMOs) Improved Children’s Behavior”]
Best Prevention: Eliminate Junk Foods
Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school replaced their cafeteria’s processed foods with wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a full-time police officer on duty. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, no suicide, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results.
Mice react to junk food and genetically modified foods
Years ago, a science class at Appleton found support for their new diet by conducting a cruel and unusual experiment with three mice. They fed them the junk food that kids in other high schools eat everyday. The mice’s behavior was completely different than the three mice in the neighboring cage, who were fed nutritious whole foods. They slept during the day inside their cardboard tube, played with each other, and acted very mouse-like. The junk food mice, on the other hand, destroyed their cardboard tube, were no longer nocturnal, stopped playing with each other, fought often, and two mice eventually killed the third and ate it. After the three month experiment, the students rehabilitated the two surviving junk food mice with a diet of whole foods. After about three weeks, the mice came around.
Sister Luigi Frigo repeats this experiment every year in her second grade class in Cudahy, Wisconsin, but mercifully, for only four days. Even on the first day of junk food, the mice’ behavior “changes drastically:” they become lazy, antisocial, and nervous. And it still takes the mice about two to three weeks on unprocessed foods to return to normal. One year, the second graders tried to do the experiment again a few months later with the same mice, but this time the animals refused to eat the junk food.
Across the ocean in Holland, a student fed one group of mice genetically modified (GM) corn and soy, and another group the non-GM variety. The GM mice stopped playing with each other and withdrew into their own parts of the cage. When the student tried to pick them up, unlike their well-behaved neighbors, the GM mice scampered around in apparent fear and tried to climb the walls. One mouse in the GM group was found dead at the end of the experiment.
And a senior scientist at the Russian National Academy of Sciences presented evidence at the 14th European Congress of Psychiatry that genetically modified soybeans fed to rats caused an increase in “Anxiety and Aggression.”
It’s interesting to note that the junk food fed to the mice in the Wisconsin experiments also contained genetically modified ingredients. And although the Appleton school lunch program did not specifically attempt to remove GM foods, it happened anyway. That’s because GM foods such as soy and corn and their derivatives are largely found in processed foods. So when the school switched to unprocessed alternatives, almost all ingredients derived from GM crops were taken out automatically.
Protect Yourself & Your Family
GM ingredients are much more common in processed foods, hidden in ingredients like lecithin and sweeteners. These components are deteriorating the health of our families, our crops and animals, and our ecosystems. Instead, reach for wholesome, nutritious foods to improve overall health, balance, and behavior.
For recipe ideas with fresh, wholesome ingredients, visit DeliciousLivingMag.com
For ideas on how to get kids involved in a healthy, nutritious diet, watch for our article in the Burlingame Mother’s Club newsletter this spring!