From: "Agent Smiley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Scientists' Warning about Genetically Engineered Food
Date: 24 Feb 1999 03:46:24 GMT
IT IS NOT RIGHT to exploit a technology which may give rise to unexpected substances that may be damaging to Health, before this risk has been carefully investigated.
IT IS NOT RIGHT to exploit a technology that may have irreparable environmental effects before it has been proven that the products do not cause significant harm to the environment.
IT IS NOT RIGHT to expose people and the environment to even the smallest hazard considering that present Genetically Engineered products are of little if any value.
IT IS NOT RIGHT to justify the exploitation of a potentially hazardous technology today because of a scientifically unfounded belief that it might generate useful products in the future.
THEREFORE, we demand a GLOBAL MORATORIUM on the release into the environment of genetically engineered organisms and on the use of Genetically Engineered (GE) foods until sufficient knowledge has been acquired to make it possible to judge if it is justifiable and safe for our Health and the Environment to exploit this technology. This is most urgent as there are reasons to expect potentially serious hazards from the products of Gene Technology.
No so far released products have been properly assessed for safety. Therefore they should be withdrawn with shortest possible delay. Until production and trade will be stopped, we demand MANDATORY LABELING of all foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.
At the end of this message you will find a SUMMARY OF SCIENTIFIC FACTS underlying our Declaration.
You can sign the declaration: http://www.flashbase.com/forms/signdecl where you will find a form which you can submit.
(You can find the same text, but with links to references in addition at URL: http://www.psagef.org/decl.htm#scifacts.)
- GENETIC ENGINEERING IS FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT FROM BREEDING.The artificial insertion of foreign genes represents a traumatic disturbance of the close genetic control in normal cells. It is completely different in nature from the combination of maternal and paternal chromosomes brought about by natural mating mechanisms.
- GENETIC ENGINEERING OF TODAY IS TECHNICALLY PRIMITIVEas it is impossible to guide the insertion of a new gene. Therefore it is impossible to foresee the effects of an inserted gene. But even if the position of a gene can be localized afterwards, the knowledge of DNA is far too incomplete to make it possible to predict the result.
- HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES MAY BE GENERATED UNPREDICTABLYbecause of the artificial insertion of a foreign gene. These may, in the worst case, be toxic, allergenic or otherwise damaging to Health. The knowledge of these risks is very incomplete.
- NO SAFETY ASSESSMENT METHODS ARE FULLY RELIABLE. Over 10 percent of serious side effects have not been possible to detect in the case of new drugs in spite of rigorous safety assessment. The risk of not detecting a hazardous property of a new GE food is probably considerably greater than in the case of drugs.
- THE PRESENT RULES FOR SAFETY ASSESSMENT ARE SERIOUSLY INADEQUATE. They have been explicitly designed so as to simplify approval procedures. They accept very insensitive safety testing. Therefore there is a considerable risk that foods harmful to Health may pass undetected.
- THE GE-FOODS SO FAR DEVELOPED ARE OF NO SIGNIFICANT VALUE FOR MANKIND. The products mainly satisfy purely commercial interests.
- THE KNOWLEDGE IS VERY INCOMPLETE ABOUT THE ECOLOGICAL EFFECTSof releasing genetically engineered organisms. It has not been positively proven that GE organisms may not cause environmental harm. Various potential ecological complications have been anticipated by ecological experts. For example, there are many routes for uncontrolled spread of engineered and potentially hazardous genes, including gene transfer by bacteria and viruses. Environmental complications will probably mostly be impossible to repair as the released genes cannot be retrieved.
- NEW AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS VIRUSES MAY EMERGE. It has been experimentally demonstrated that inserted virus genes may unite with genes from infecting viruses (so called recombination). Such new viruses may be more aggressive than the original virus. Viruses may also become less species-specific. For example, a plant virus might become harmful to valuable insects, animals and to man.
- THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HEREDITARY SUBSTANCE, DNA, IS VERY LIMITED.Only the function of about 3 percent of the DNA is known. It is risky to manipulate complicated systems that are incompletely known. Extensive experience from biology, ecology and medicine shows that this may cause serious unexpected problems and disturbances.
- GENETIC ENGINEERING WILL NOT HELP SOLVE THE WORLD HUNGER PROBLEM.The claim that genetic engineering may contribute importantly to reduced world hunger is a scientifically unsubstantiated myth.
For more information about facts, please look up the Internet address: http://www.psagef.org/decl.htm#scifacts
You may also want to read "What to believe? - A personal letter to you who are confused about the GE-food issue". URL: http://www.psagef.org/whatobel.htm
To register as a member and sign the declaration in one stroke go to: http://www.psagef.org/lmgreg.htm
To only sign the declaration, go to http://www.flashbase.com/forms/signdecl or copy the form above and e-mail to us.
To distribute this message to others, either forward this one, or preferably, download a fresh copy at: http://www.psagef.org/ecpdownl.htm