The Bt cotton study includes two medium-term research projects undertaken in India to determine whether exposure to Bt cotton is causing allergic skin reactions in humans and illness or death in sheep. Numerous complaints from farmers of skin allergies in cotton-pickers and of illness in sheep following grazing on cotton plant foliage have been reported since 2003 when Bt was approved for use in India. Preliminary tests suggest a correlation between exposure to Bt cotton and these symptoms.
The immediate objective of these studies is to further evaluate the correlation between exposure to Bt cotton and allergic reactions in humans, and immunological reactions in sheep. The broad objective is to demonstrate the inadequacy of the current approval process for GM products to protect human health, particularly in developing nations. Corresponding with these objectives, these studies will contribute research to a growing body of evidence documenting the risks GM products pose to human health and animals.
The GM soy allergy study seeks to determine if GM soy is the cause of a marked increase in soy allergies in consumers of soy food products. Since the introduction of GM soy onto the food market, soy food products have become a leading cause of food allergies around the world (between the 6th and 8th leading cause). A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. Symptoms that are associated with soy food allergies can include:
- Itching or itchy, scaly skin (eczema)
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other parts of the body
- Wheezing, runny nose or trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting Redness of the skin (flushing).
However, in severe cases allergic symptoms of soy can include:
- Constriction of airways
- Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
In view of the frequency and seriousness of soy food allergies globally, Earth Open Source has recruited a group of allergists to study patients who complain of reactions to soy in their diet. There are two stages to this study. First, allergists will conduct an intradermal allergenisity test in which soy or GM-soy extract is injected under the skin of a patient who is then observed for soy allergenic reactions. Second, serum samples will be taken from each patient and tested for the presence of antibodies that react specifically with GM soy proteins. The GM Soy Allergen study will attempt to make correlations between physiological allergenic reactions and in vitro immunochemical reactivity of the patients’ serum to GM soy proteins.