Volume 3 Issue 1

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Page 10 | Abby's Magazine - Professor's Book Fuels the GMO Debate B iotech proponents claim that the debate over the safety of genetically modified foods is settled is wrong, according to Sheldon Krimsky, co-editor of the new book, e GMO Deception: What You Need to Know about the Food, Corporations, and Government Agencies Putting Our Families and Our Environment at Risk. As its title suggests, the book takes a very critical look at GM foods with articles written by leading scientists, educators, and environmentalists. Articles cover the whole range of the GMO debate from human and environmental health, labeling, and corporate control of agriculture to regulation, sustainability, and ethics. Krimsky has sounded warnings about the risks of GM foods since the 1980s. He has written or edited 13 books that provide a critical examination of breaking issues in science and technology. He is also chairman of the Council for Responsible Genetics, which fosters public debate about the social, ethical, and environmental implications of genetic technologies. Krimsky is the Carol Zicklin Visiting Article by Ken Roseboro Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, the Lenore Stern Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Tus University, and adjunct professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at the School of Medicine at Tus University. What led to the publishing of the GMO Deception? Sheldon Krimsky: Claims were being made that the health effects of genetically modified foods were resolved. e only issue was public perception. But when I investigated the scientific literature, I found more than a dozen studies showing negative health impacts, and these have to be addressed. You can't just throw them away. When dealing with risks, it's not about having more studies showing no harm than ones showing harm. One negative outcome is worth 99 positive outcomes because many positive outcomes are funded by industry. When you want to prove something is safe, you have to set conditions that are most likely to find effects. When developing a new airplane, you don't just fly at normal conditions; you fly at extreme conditions. In the same way, you have to test GMOs under more extreme conditions in order to have confidence that they are safe. Unfortunately, every time a scientist shows an adverse effect (from GMOs), that scientist is vilified. We saw this most recently with (Professor Gilles-Eric) Séralini (who published a study showing negative impacts to rats fed GM corn and Roundup herbicide). e things that have been done to him are unprecedented in the history of science. Retracting a paper aer a year when the editors initially supported the reviewers and retracting it because "the results are not definitive" is not really valid in the ethics of science. Based on that criterion a great amount of published work would also be retracted. How did you gather the material for the book? What were your criteria for inclusion in the book? SK: We tried to piece together good articles from the past with good recent articles. e articles are written by well-respected scientists and environmental activists. ere is a preface by Ralph Nader, and an introduction to the science of genetic engineering by John Fagan. ere are segments in the book that deal with environmental impacts. I published a book in 1996, Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment, when the biotechnology industry was just starting.

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