GMO's, Pesticides and Herbicides in food and their impact on health.

Pesticides are ubiquitous. It us becausebused in agriculture and food production, pesticides are present at low levels in many of our diets. Less obvious is the fact that many people use pesticides around their homes, and even on their skin (i.e. in the form of insect repellents). According to the NIH, the health effects of pesticides are still not well understood. Potential effects include cancer and damage to the nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are often engineered to be more resistant to pesticides or produce pesticides themselves.

Pesticides are substances used to repel, kill, or control animals (insecticides) or plants (herbicides) that are considered to be pests. There are different types of pesticides, which include synthetic pesticides and biopesticides.

GMOs have been changing the way that pesticides are used in agriculture. Herbicide-tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops have led to an increase in herbicide usage while insecticide-producing GM crops have led to a decrease in insecticides. To understand whether GMOs make us better or worse off in our interaction with pesticides, 

Upside of pesticides: 

It can help us to control or repel disease organisms. Pesticides can protect our homes and buildings from structural damage by creatures such as termites. They can protect our health, too – disease outbreaks are prevented by controlling insect and rodent populations. Pesticides can even disinfect our drinking water and medical instruments. 

Downside of pesticide: 

These chemical pesticides include compounds such as organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids, and sulfonylureas. Short-term exposure to a large amount of certain pesticides can result in poisoning. Exposure to large amounts of pesticides is usually more likely for people such as farmers who may frequently touch and/or breathe in pesticides. The effects of long-term exposure to small amounts of these pesticides are unclear, but studies have linked them to a variety of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and neurological defects.

GM herbicide-tolerant crops enable farmers to use certain herbicides that will kill weeds without harming their crop. The prime example of GM herbicide-resistant crops is the suite of “Roundup-resistant” GMOs, which are designed to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, an ingredient in the weed killer Roundup. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world by volume. It is employed extensively in agriculture and can be found in garden products in many countries.

The use of these herbicide-tolerant crops has allowed farmers to switch from traditional herbicides to glyphosate. The good news is that glyphosphate is thought to be less toxic and less persistent than traditional herbicides, which means that it carries fewer health risks for humans.

However, the World Health Organization recently announced that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, so we still need to be cautious. Although studies have shown conflicting conclusions about the link between glyphosate and cancer in humans, glyphosate has been linked to cancer in rats and mice and experiments in human cells have shown that exposure to glyphosate can cause DNA damage.

Plants may develop resistance to herbicides over time. Weeds that have developed resistance to herbicides such as glyphosate may require higher amounts of glyphosate and perhaps other herbicides to keep them in check, and this means that herbicide-tolerant crops will be exposed to higher levels of herbicides as well.The EPA and the World Health Organization. The EPA regulates pesticides in food by evaluating every new pesticide for safety and every new use before it is registered. The EPA evaluates hundreds of scientific studies on pesticides to ensure their safety to humans. After a pesticide is registered, the EPA reevaluates its safety every 15 years. Before the EPA allows a pesticide to be used on crops, it sets a maximum legal residue limit (called a “tolerance”) for each treated food, and if that residue limit is exceeded, government action will be taken.

Writer- saniya ansari