Online Program

Review of the Literature: Impact of GMOs on Health Outcomes for African Americans

Sunday, November 1, 2015

ReeShema, T Britt, BS, BA, MPH (c), College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Pine Bluff, AR
Yashika Watkins, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Studies, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL
Thomas Britt, MD, MPH, Department of Health Studies, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL
Background: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms whose genetic materials have been altered using genetic engineering techniques. GMOs have been beneficial by allowing easier access, production, and decreased food prices. However, there is an adverse impact on population health due to their decreased nutritional value. Potential adverse effects are bodily toxicity, reproductive and digestive system effects, food allergies, antibiotic resistance, diabetes, obesity, sterility, and cancer. 

Methods:A meta-analysis approach was employed using electronic databases, current and past journals, and bibliographies of relevant articles. Twenty-seven sources were identified from 2003-2015. Keywords used were GMO testing/methods, GMO health risks, and GMO allergy effects.

Results: GMOs have been found to cause adverse health problems (e.g., precancerous cells, bleeding stomachs, hepatomegaly, abnormal renal and blood cells, and premature death) in animals fed exclusive GMO diets. Human blood samples have revealed the presence of GMO pesticides. Human health effects include allergic-type immune responses when inhaling corn pollen laden with Bacillus thuringiensis spores, which could lead to death. GMOs may cause plants to produce their protective toxins at higher levels that become harmful to humans. GMOs genes in plants can bind to other plant genes and make minerals unavailable to the human body, which may limit the prevention of heart diseases, immune response, and cancers.

Conclusion: African Americans may suffer disproportionately from aforementioned conditions and therefore need to be aware and educated about GMOs’ harmful health impact to reduce disparities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss a review of the literature pertaining to GMOs and its health effects on African Americans.

Keyword(s): Food Safety, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be a presenter and author because I am a MPH student in the College of Public Health at the University Of Arkansas for Medical Sciences concentrating in health behavior and health education.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.