Last week I joined a group of amazing social media moms in Philadelphia to meet Robyn O’Brien, the founder of AllergyKids Foundation and the author of The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply– and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself. The information Robyn is sharing is uncomfortable to hear but so vitally important for us all to learn. If you or someone you love is dealing with food allergies, ADHD, cancer or the early onset of puberty, read on. If not, read on anyway.
Here are some eye-opening statistics:
- Starting in 1994, US dairy farmers began injecting their cows with a genetically engineered growth hormone (known as either rBST or rBGH) to speed the production of their milk.
- Also during that time, other new genetically modified proteins were introduced into our food supply. No human studies were done to determine if they were safe.
- There are currently 40 genetically modified crops being grown in the US. Corn, soy and canola are the most prevalent.
- Canada, the Europe Union, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have all banned the use of GMOs.
- Over 80% of the processed food we eat includes genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- 80% of all antibiotics in the US are used on our livestock because of the effect the growth hormone is having on the animals
- Early exposure to antibiotics is thought to lead to allergies later in life
- Milk allergy is the most common food allergy in the US
- From 1997 to 2002 the number of children with peanut allergies doubled
- One out of 17 children now have a food allergy
- According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 15% of American girls are expected to start puberty at age 7. Seven!
- rBGH milk has 10 to 20 times the levels of a hormone known to cause pre-menstrual breast cancer
- 1 in 229 women between 30 and 39 will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next 10 years
- Only 10% of breast cancers today can be linked to genetic causes. The other 90% are environmentally based.
Whew! Scary, right? These are some of the eye-opening facts I heard at last week’s talk. While Robyn is clear to make the point that while allergies, ADHD, cancer and autism are all on the rise in the US, we cannot assume at this point that GMOs have caused this increase. Unfortunately, studies have not been done to test the effects of these GMOs on humans prior to injecting them into our food supply. However, there does certainly seem to be a strong correlation between the use of GMOs starting in the early 90’s and the increased reports of these health problems.
So what can we do about it? The first thing is to just get educated. I personally feel that I am in that phase. Learn what you can about how the food you are eating has been created.
One of the things I love about hearing Robyn speak is that she is a real mom. She knows that it isn’t easy to make sweeping changes to your family’s diet. She gets the power that the pretty colors, well known celebrities and heavy advertising have over our kids (and over us adults!). Rather than standing on a soapbox and telling us we must all cut out junk food and make drastic changes tomorrow, she quietly urges us to make one small step forward at a time to improve the health of ourselves and our families.
I hope you’ll join me on the journey…
You can hear more from Robyn here at her TED talk in Austin: