One of the two basic types of GMOs is the type which endemically manufactures its own insecticidal poison. (The other type is that which is resistant to one or more herbicidal poisons.) This type is engineered to express a toxin derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Many such poison-generating genes have been commercialized. The latest “stacked” product, Monsanto’s SmartStax maize, generates six Bt poisons. This kind of escalation is necessary as the target insects, corn borers and rootworms, develop resistance to poisons which have been on the market for awhile. The same is true of the surge of herbicide-resistant superweeds, and the collapse of glyphosate as an effective herbicide.
This escalation is part of the design of GMOs. Monsanto’s profit and control follow from agriculture’s total dependency upon poisons which continually fail and therefore must continually be escalated. Not only must commodity corn farmers buy an endemically poisonous corn seed, but for it to be reliable, it now needs to produce no fewer than six such poisons.
This is why many commentators call these “poison plants”, or “pesticide plants”. It’s getting to the point where it’s not even as if agricultural poisons are applied to food, but rather that we’re supposed to be eating poison which allegedly has some food value. As much as I write about this, I haven’t yet ceased to marvel at the insanity of subordinating the production of our food to the production of poison, or at the evil of anyone who supports or tolerates this.
I’ll now be writing a series of posts on the health effects of these poisons we must ingest in order to get some food. I’ll start with Bt toxins. Unless otherwise linked, all the studies and information I mention in this post, along with their original sources, can be found in the 2012 Earth Open Source report “GMO Myths and Truths” and/or the 2013 paper “Don’t Look, Don’t Find”.
(Although I’ll be writing about the escalated use of agricultural poisons in future posts, here I’ll mention in passing that it’s Big Lie propaganda when the hacks claim that GMOs reduce pesticide use. If pressed, they try to refer only to sprayed insecticide. (GMOs indisputably cause a massive increase in herbicide use.) This is fraudulent accounting, since of course the insecticide generated by the crops themselves has to be counted as the environmental poison it is. If you count the endemic Bt production, GMOs also increase insecticide use. Then there’s the fact that seeds are increasingly coated with neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides, which also become endemic in the cells of the poison crop. Finally, on account of accelerating development of insect resistance to these endemic poisons, old-style sprayed insecticides, after a brief period of reduced use need to be resumed as well. This is the pattern everywhere with Bt crops. Sure enough, whereas the use of sprayed insecticide is low in Europe (where few GMOs are cultivated) and continues to decline, this use in the US GMO-occupied zone has started to rise again. So the one and only stat the hacks can pseudo-plausibly cite, reduced sprayed insecticide, is only an ephemeral condition and is a false mode of accounting anyway.)
The way Bt poison crops work is that every cell of the plant oozes one or more Bt-derived toxins. When the target insect eats the poisonous cells, the poison busts open the insect’s gut, killing it. There’s also Bt-based sprays which have been used for many years. The alleged safety of these is often argued as sufficient to assert that endemic Bt is also safe. But the alleged safety of Bt sprays is questionable in itself. Sprayed “natural” Bt has been found to cause allergic and autoimmune responses in exposed farm workers. Natural Bt toxin also produces autoimmune responses in laboratory tests with mice. At any rate Bt sprays are less concentrated and quickly break down in the environment. By contrast, genetically engineered endemic Bt poison is far more concentrated and is constantly produced in every cell of the plant. Also, the GE-inserted Bt gene has often been damaged through shoddy engineering and produces a toxin different from the natural one it was based upon. For example, Syngenta’s Bt176 maize, linked with the deaths of cattle in Germany, produced a toxin at least 40% different from its original version. Similarly, the Monsanto’s MON810 maize contains a transgene damaged during insertion which has resulted in its expression of several altered proteins, including at least one known allergen.
So there’s no comparison between the two modes of poisoning.
One of the basic lies told about Bt poison is that it’s active only amid the alkalinity of the insect digestive tract. But this has been disproven. Here’s just a few of the many studies:
*A 2013 study found that Bt toxins were active when suspended in distilled water and were toxic to mammalian cells under these conditions. See below for the toxic effects this study found.
*Studies in 1999-2000 which administered Bt toxin to mice intragastrically and intraperitonially found that the toxin binds to the small intestine lining. The study also found evidence of autoimmune response.
*A 2013 study found that the toxin binds to the gut wall of salmon. Here it produced local intestinal effects, cell degradation, and an autoimmune response.
*It’s also allegedly non-toxic to human cells, but in a 2012 study Bt was found to kill embryonic human kidney cells in vitro at levels of 100ppm.
*A 2008 study found that in the presence of Bt toxin dissolved in water, the water flea Daphnia magna (a well-known indicator species) suffered higher mortality, sexual underdevelopment in females, and lower egg production.
Another standard lie (also told of genetically engineered DNA material in general) is that the Bt poison will be broken down in processing and/or digestion and can never reach the bloodstream. This too has been disproven. A sample:
*A 2013 study found that complete genes can pass from food to human blood.
*A 2011 study in Canada found Bt toxin proteins in the bloodstreams of 67% of non-pregnant women, 93% of pregnant women, and 80% of umbilical cord blood. Even protein fragments can cause allergies, autoimmune diseases, and chronic disease.
*Studies in 2010 demonstrated that the Bt toxin survives the digestive process both in vitro (in a study simulating human digestion) and in vivo (in a study testing cows who ingested MON810).
So we know for a fact that we ingest Bt poison with our food, that it enters our bloodstream, and that it may be active in our digestive tract and elsewhere in our bodies.
Here’s just a few of the studies have associated Bt with the following health effects with organ toxicity, digestive system disturbances, allergic responses, autoimmune responses.
*A study feeding Bt maize to rats over three generations found cell damage in the liver and kidneys.
*A 90-day study with rats and Bt maize found a lower albumin/globulin ratio, indicating a change in liver metabolism.
*A 2008 study feeding MON810 maize to weaning mice and old mice found intestinal inflammation, peripheral immune response, and evidence of allergic response.
*A 1998 study of rats fed Bt potatoes found ileum swelling, inflammation, and cell degradation.
*The 2013 study linked above found that Bt toxins target mammalian (mice) red blood cells, causing damage which is associated with anemia, suppression of bone marrow production, and leukemia. This finding is especially disturbing when we consider that most Bt crops are stacked with an herbicide resistance trait and will be sprayed with glyphosate, which is linked to hairy cell leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The study also found that, contrary to industry claims, Bt toxins can bioaccumulate and become more toxic.
*A report found the following correlations between plantings of Bt maize and hospital diagnoses since 1995: Strong correlations with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and functional bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation; and a moderate correlation with peritonitis. These epidemiological findings are consistent with laboratory findings that eating Bt poison is linked with gut inflammation and related diseases. As I’ll describe in more detail in a separate post, the linkage of Bt poison and glyphosate to gut inflammation and leaky gut is one of the most potent modes through which these poisons promote disease.
The Canadian study I cited above did not establish where the Bt in the bloodstream was coming from. The researchers speculated that it came from meat and dairy in the diet. They thought it more likely that an animal would eat GMO feed and retain the poison in its own tissues (which even the pro-GMO European Food Safety Administration and UK Food Standards Agency admit happens), and that humans would ingest it from this dietary source, than that Bt toxin would survive food processing.
But another possibility is that when we ingest the Bt-expressing genetic material it may transfer to our gut bacteria via the process of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). If so, our gut bacteria may themselves become Bt poison plants, and our digestive tracts may become miniature Bt factories, constantly producing the poison, constantly eroding our gut wall exposing us to a vast array of diseases as well as the toxic effects of the Bt itself. I’ll leave this for the moment but shall be writing more about HGT, the health effects of digestive tract inflammation, and how GMOs and glyphosate cause this, in subsequent posts.
All the studies mentioned here were independent studies. We must always keep in mind and inform others that no government has ever required a safety test on ANY GMO, Bt or otherwise. Nor has any corporation performed a real safety test or been required to do so. Wherever an industry study has found evidence of toxicity (and this has happened many times), it was always in spite of the study testing only for non-safety parameters (matters of industry concern like weight gain) and having a design rigged against finding toxicity evidence (the studies are too short and contain bogus data groups meant to generate noise and drown out any signal).
Also, no government has ever performed or required an epidemiological study to find out what health effects GMOs have been causing since they’ve been commercialized.
In light of this willful official neglect, the difficulty of independent scientists obtaining research funds, the attempts of the cartel to deny research materials to any researcher who won’t agree to cartel control of the study and censorship of the results, and the propaganda machine’s demonization of any scientist who even questions the GMO imperative (which in itself proves that the hacks know they can’t win any scientific or rational debate), it’s impressive how much evidence we’ve amassed which documents the toxicity and allergenicity of GMOs, and provides evidence of their possible carcinogenicity. All the evidence has been compiled by independent scientists working diligently but necessarily in an ad hoc way. Imagine the evidence we’d have if society actually cared about the effects of eating poison and systematically studied it.
But then, the kind of society which would want to be conscientious about that probably would never have been so insane as to go the route of poison-based agriculture in the first place. It seems that complacency about studying the poisons’ effects goes along with complacency about poison as such. In that context, it becomes easier to understand public resistance to something so modest as GMO labeling. We have a massive case of the Stockholm Syndrome.
Therefore, the first task in building an abolitionist movement is to build the skeleton. For the moment the point’s not to persuade the masses, but to assemble the individuals who do care and do want to fight into a coherent whole. For the time being publicity’s goal is to recruit these cadres, and to get the abolition idea into the public consciousness. Not initially to sway the public, but to make it so that this idea is part of their regular thoughts, an alternative they always remember exists.
Then we prepare the organization for the day when large numbers of people, on account of whatever change, do want to pick up this idea and use it.