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How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals

Chronic health effects are increasing in the world such as cancers, hormonal, reproductive, nervous, or immune diseases, even in young people. During regulatory toxicological subchronic tests to prevent these on mammalian health, prior commercialization of chemicals, including pesticides and drugs, or GMOs, some statistically significant findings may be revealed. This discussion is about the need to investigate the relevant criteria to consider those as biologically significant. The sex differences and the non linear dose or time related effects should be considered in contrast to the claims of a Monsanto-supported expert panel about a GMO, the MON 863 Bt maize, but also for pesticides or drugs, in particular to reveal hormone-dependent diseases and first signs of toxicities.

Some contaminations or pollutions by pesticides [1] and other chemical residues [2-4] affect human and animal health, together with biodiversity. Thus it is important to study potential mid and long-term toxicological effects during regulatory tests prior to commercialization of chemicals, and not to test only short-term or subchronic effects. This question has also been raised for GMOs [5], especially those containing pesticides, either because they tolerate (such as Roundup Ready soya) or produce (such as Bt maize) these molecules (99 % of commercially cultivated GMOs). This subject has been reviewed recently by Dronamraju [6].

Here we shall discuss more particularly the existing data on possible toxic effects of a GMO on mammals, with putative relevance to humans, and with the aim of commenting on current procedures and experimental protocols in mammalian feeding experiments (Fig. 1). Doull et al. [7] indicated their general criteria needed to classify as biologically relevant the observed significant effects during 90d toxicological tests on mammals. The example taken was for a GMO, a Bt maize called MON 863, producing in its cells a new kind of modified insecticide Cry3Bb1, known as a toxin for coleopterans. But these authors claim to apply the same criteria to other products such as pesticides and drugs. The history of the debate on the biosafety of this GMO is paradigmatic, and it raises a series of general questions on risk assessment of commercial transgenic crops and of pesticides or chemicals. These considerations are crucial, since public health is concerned and their discussion may critically influence the decision to release in particular some agricultural GMOs or not, and also to another extent the economic feasibility of this kind of project.

Biological Sciences

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Dr Bellini,
Very interesting article. I like to quote it verbatim on the Monsanto thread i started. Do you have any objections?

Kind regards,


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