What follows is Part-II in a series of letters from viewers of the recent two-hour television program, "Harvest of Fear" (PBS Nova & Frontline, April 2001) concerning genetically engineered crops.
Letters are repeated here are done so with PBS' permission, but without the authors' names.
There were well over 500 letters submitted to PBS. The letters presented here were all selected from the small number posted at PBS-WGBH's web, where additonal letters can be found:
As an individual who has been affected by genetically modified organisms, my opinion is both biased and factual.
I suffer from autoimmune disorders due to GM'd L-tryptophan taken from 1988 to approximately 1990. At some point, the brand (which I won't mention) included a "bad batch" -- at least that's what I was told. I was very lucky as several individuals died, and many suffered more severe problems than I did. It wasn't until years later that I learned that the "bad batch" was genetically modified L-tryptophan.
Subsequent to having developed autoimmune disease, and as my immune system is compromised, I have multiple allergies from ingesting GMO-containing foods. According to doctor(s) and tracing my med history and allergy tests, etc., since my immune system was compromised from the L-tryptophan, it made my body less able to resist problems with ingesting GMO's. They said it was much like when there is bacteria on food, the young, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to be affected. The GMO containing foods, etc. triggered multiple allergies.
I am allergic (true allergies, not simply food intolerances) to soy, wheat, MSG, many foods, medicines, and even cosmetics and toiletries. I cannot eat or use any products with soy, wheat, gluten, MSG, yeast, autolyzed and/or hydrolyzed proteins, sulphur and/or sulphur-based materials, latex, morphine, cipro antibiotic, etc., etc., etc. They cannot be used as ingredients in the items I use; they cannot even be fillers and/or binders in the medicines I use.
It is very difficult to find medicines that do not use soybean oil in capsules or glutens as binders, etc. I have to read every label for everything I use. Before my doctor can prescribe a medication for me, he has to get out this huge book, find the company's number, and have the materials sent to him, etc.
I have been blessed that in my many trips to the emergency room, doctors have been very knowledgeable and saved my life. Anaphylaxis is extremely scary. Acute asthma is very scary. And violent sickness is no fun. Of course, while I've been very blessed by doctors who have saved me, I have also been treated by doctors who have not read my chart (as extensive as it is) well enough and have attempted to give me things that could have killed me. In those cases, I've been blessed by guardian angels.
I see and understand the proposed benefits for the GM's and I understand the want for what they seem to offer in hope. I believe some of the individuals wanting them to be sincere, but, I know, too, that there are valid risks and problems -- severe health risks -- that all are ignoring in blind passion and in most cases by not seeing the tarnish for the glare of the gold. I know that GMO's are not safe for human consumption. Thank you for your time.
(See PBS web site re author)