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Urgent - JIGMOD scientists' letter (21/12/2005)

From: "Dominique Beroule" [email protected]
To:
[email protected]
Cc:
[email protected]
Subject: Urgent: JIGMOD scientists' letter
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2005

Bonjour from France,

You recently broadcasted a letter in connection with the Joint International GMO Opposition Day. Thank you very much for this, although the person who passed on the message to you did it too early. The problem is that the introduction of this letter was just a preliminary one.

Here is the correct introduction. Thank you for considering it as the only valid presentation of the Scientists' Letter.

Best regards,

Dominique Béroule,
Member of the JIGMOD Coordinating Committee
----------

Dear friends and colleagues,

The attached 1-page letter summarizes many of the risks and problems of genetically engineered organisms. It will be read out during the international video-conference of the Joint International GMO Opposition Day (JIGMOD) on 8 April, 2006, and at related demonstrations (e.g. 9 April in Chicago, 20 April in Brussels).

The letter, written by a team of scientists and others, is primarily aimed at parliamentarians. It therefore emphasizes health risks - a particularly sensitive topic for law makers. The letter may also be used to highlight risks for shareholders of biotech companies.

Please help us circulate the letter to gather supporting signatures: from scientists, as well as members of farmer-, consumer-, and political-organizations. (You are welcome to sign as a member, even if you are not signing on behalf of your organization.)

To become a signer, simply send an email to [email protected] Include your name, profession, country, and whether you are signing as a scientist or as a member or officer of an organization. The final list of signatories will be posted on the http://altercampagne.free.fr/ website.

Thank you for helping us protect the health of our population and environment.

With our best regards,

Dr Dominique Béroule, on behalf of the JIGMOD Coordinating Committee.

P.S.: Could you please pass on this message to your circle. Thank you in advance.
---

MEMORANDUM

The current generation of genetically modified (GM) crops uneccessarily risks the health of the population and the environment. Present knowledge is not sufficient to safely and predictably modify the plant genome, and the risks of serious side-effects far outweigh the benefits. We urge you to stop feeding the products of this infant science to our population and ban the release of these crops into the environment where they can never be recalled.

The current technology was rushed to market long before the science was worked out. Its introduction was accompanied with rigged research, bribes,1 gagged scientists,2 cover-ups3 and regulatory agencies stacked with industry representatives.4 With mounting evidence of serious health and environmental problems, we must act quickly to end the charade and this dangerous abuse of public trust.

Current safety assessments are inadequate to catch most of the harmful effects. When a foreign gene is artificially inserted into a living organism such as a GM crop, the preexisting natural gene of the organism can unintentionally be deleted, switched off, permanently switched on, mutated or fragmented. Hundreds of natural genes may change the way they generate their proteins (basic molecules that form living cells), and even the newly introduced protein may differ from what was intended.

· Key assumptions used as the basis for safety claims have been overturned and several adverse findings suggest that GM foods are unsafe. GM-fed animals had problems with their growth, organ development and immune responsiveness, blood5 and liver cell6 formation, as well as damaged organs (bleeding stomachs,7 excessive cell growth,8 inflammation in lung tissue9), sterility problems10 and increased death rates,11 including among the offspring.12

· Risks are increased by the fact that the genes inserted into GM food not only survive digestion, but transfer into body organs and circulation. Transgenes have been found in the blood, liver, spleen and kidneys.13 DNA can even travel via the placenta into the unborn.14 The only human clinical trial showed that transgenes from soy transfer into intestinal bacteria.15

· Claims that no one has gotten hurt from GM foods are misleading, since no one monitors human health impacts. We do know that soya allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent after GM soybeans were imported to the UK,16 and a GM food supplement killed about 100 Americans and caused 5,000- 10,000 to fall sick.17

· Some GM crops create their own pesticide called Bt. Their approval relied on the assumption that Bttoxin is not bioactive in mammals. But Bt-toxin caused powerful immune responses and abnormal and excessive cell growth in mice. Filipinos living next to Bt cornfields developed mysterious symptoms during the time of pollination - three seasons in a row - and blood tests showed an immune response to Bt.18 A November 2005 report from India claims that Bt cotton also creates allergic responses.19 What if Bt genes transfer to gut bacteria like soya genes do? They could turn our internal flora into living pesticide factories.

Despite the Public Relation spin, GM crops increase the use of herbicides20, lower average yield, and endanger food security. They are detrimental to sustainable and organic farming, and trap farmers in a cycle of indebtedness and dependence. They endanger biodiversity21, harm beneficial insects22, damage soil bacteria23, contaminate non-GM varieties24 and may persist in the environment for generations.25

Insurance companies do not want to cover the risks inherent in GMOs.26 Consumers do not want them.27

Please act today to protect our health, our environment, and future generations.

1 Monsanto fined $1.5m for bribery (7 January, 2005) BBC News(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4153635.stm)

2 Delborne, J.A. (August 27, 2004) Tran

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