In other news, I did some looking into the heads of the EPA yesterday. I remarked to a friend (actually, the writer of Simplemind) that GM technology is not being regulated very well. He said that it was regulated by the EPA, the FDA, and the USDA. I noted that not only are these organizations overstretched (the number of FDA drug and biologic inspections reach a five-year low); they are also highly politicized and biased in and of themselves. The Administrator of the EPA is appointed by George Bush. The former EPA administrator was a Mormon, the current one, Stephen L. Johnson, used to work as a senior office in two different biotech companies, Covance and Litton Bionetics (a company which, interestingly, is featured in AIDS conspiracy theories as the creator of AIDS). Up until recently he advocated testing pesticides on infants and children up to 3 years old. These are strange people, with strange ethics. The one before Leavitt, Christine Todd Whitman, told the workers at the WTC that the dust was completely harmless despite having no evidence to back it up. Some people simply do not feel a pang of guilt when they lie.
This lead to a man named Arpad Pusztai who informed Europe of the potential dangers of genetic engineering. Looking at an article by him, he notes that:
# Publications on GM food toxicity are scarce. An article in Science magazine said it all: "Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods: Many Opinions but Few Data".1 In fact, no peer-reviewed publications of clinical studies on the human health effects of GM food exist. Even animal studies are few and far between.
This is more than likely the reality. Of course, I cited an article finding that GM peas harm mice lungs - perhaps that came after it. Regardless, that shows that there is significant potential for harm. But the worst harms aren't the ones that are stark and obvious. The worst toxins are ones whose effects accumulate slowly and cause chronic, low-level problems.
Update: more on Pusztai. It's even creepy. See here:
The 69 year old Hungary-born Pusztai, who had been working at the RRI for 36 years, was removed from service, his research papers were seized, and his data confiscated ~ and he was prohibited from talking to anyone about his research work. All this for having spoken "all of l5O seconds," he says in a programme called World in Action on Granada TV in August 1998, about his findings on the effects of GM foods that ran counter to the prevalent scientific dogma that they were safe. He had also expressed concern that the testing procedures to establish the safety of GM foods may not be adequate.
And here. This last one really requires a full read. His work was suppressed by the English, but the scientists internationally said it was fine, and The Lancet published it.
A scientific committe was asked by the Rowett institute to review the study Pustai referred to. It said there were important deficiencies in the study.
Independent scientists confirmed the correctness of Pusztais conclusions
Pusztai then sent the research protocols to 24 independent scientists in different countries. These turned down the conclusions of the review committee and found that his research was of good quality and justified his conclusions. They found that Pusztai had not mixed up any results.
Scientists and physicians (including the undersigned), who had been in touch with Pusztai confirmed that he was perfectly clear-minded with no signs of confusion or memory defects.
What had Pusztai found? He found that potatoes with a certain type of lectin (useful as a pesticide, I gather - lectins are a particularly interesting protein capable of affecting carbohydrates) slowly caused long-term damage. But we don't test for long-term damage.