Genetically modified crops have been a controversial topic for quite some time now

Genetically modified crops have been a controversial topic for quite some time now. Many people hold the incorrect belief that crops that have been genetically modified are harmful to the environment and to humans. Some studies even support this opinion. However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests genetically modified crops are no more damaging to the environment than crops that have not been modified. Likewise, there are also many studies supporting the idea that genetically modified foods are safe for animals to consume. This paper analyzes some of the leading studies regarding the safety of genetically modified crops to explain why these crops, in a general sense, are safe for the environment and humans.
One way genetically modified (GM) crops can potentially affect the environment is through their impact on pesticide use. When pesticides are used in excess, they can be damaging to the environment. In an effort to explore the impacts of GM herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant crops on the use of pesticides in the United States, Benbrook (2012) developed a model to quantify those impacts over a period of 16 years. Genetically modified corn, soybean, and cotton crops were examined. Benbrook asserts that many people, including experts and organizations, believe that the use of GM crops reduce the use of pesticides. Contrary to this belief, the findings of this study suggest that there have been substantial increases overall in both the quantity and volume of herbicides used in the United States. If these results are accurate, then it would appear that GM crops might be harmful to the environment.
On the other hand, there are also numerous studies that indicate GM crops have decreased the use of pesticides. In one such study, Brookes and Barfoot (2017) thoroughly assessed the impacts that GM crops have on the environment by examining changes in greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use since the mid-1990s. The study, which covered multiple countries, examined areas where soybean, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beet GM crops were being grown and harvested. The authors of this paper found that the use of pesticides have been reduced significantly since the mid-1990s. As a result, it was also determined that greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced. Unlike the study performed by Benbrook (2012), which only examined pesticide use in the United States over a period of 16 years, the authors of this study considered many countries over a 19 year period, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Since the results of these studies differ drastically, this is an important consideration to note, especially since the broader scope on the latter study is likely one good explanation for the differing results.
Aside from the environmental impacts that GM crops might have, another important aspect to review when determining the safety of these crops is how they affect animals when consumed. Zhou et al. (2011) investigated the effects that a particular GM crop had on rats. Over a period of 90 days, three groups of rats were monitored for changes in body weight and food consumption while they were on a diet of either transgenic rice flour, its near-isogenic rice flour, or a standard diet as the control, which did not contain rice. No adverse effects were observed in either of the three groups of rats and the results of the study indicate that the GM rice is as safe as the conventional rice. Although this study is extremely limited in its scope, its results are nevertheless important. If GM crops are to continue growing in prevalence in the United States and elsewhere in the world, it is crucial for the welfare of humanity that they are safe for animals to consume. It could even be argued that any health risks associated with consuming GM crops are significantly more important than any adverse effects done to the environment. In the future, more studies should be performed to verify the veracity of these results and to ensure that GM foods are safe for human consumption. However, unless a reputable study is performed in the future that suggests these foods are dangerous, then it would be disadvantageous to limit the spread of GM crops throughout the world.
Despite the few anomalous studies that indicate GM crops are dangerous, numerous studies suggest otherwise. For decades, the widespread usage of genetically modified crops has significantly decreased the total amount of pesticides used in many countries. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions have also been reduced due to this decrease in pesticide use. And while more studies might need to be performed on the safety of GM foods for human consumption, it is apparent that no immediate dangers are presented when animals consume these foods. Human and animal populations throughout the world have been consuming GM foods for years without any evident health effects, and it does not seem justified to believe that dangers will arise due to their consumption in the future.

x

Hi!
I'm Dora

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out
x

Hi!
I'm Barry!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out