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Human health and the environment - Essay Example

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Genetically engineered foods can have higher nutrient content and can survive in varied climatic conditions as designed by scientists. Genetic engineering involves putting new genes…
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Running head: Human Health and the Environment Human Health and the Environment Insert Insert Insert 22 March
1.
The aim of genetic engineering in crops is to improve beneficial crop characteristics and traits. Genetically engineered foods can have higher nutrient content and can survive in varied climatic conditions as designed by scientists. Genetic engineering involves putting new genes of desirable characteristics into a crop. The gene may be from a plant of different species or an animal. The long term effects and short term effects of genetically engineered foods may not be fully known but it reduces the costs of production (Vasil, 1998).
Crops can be genetically engineered to be drought resistant, disease resistant, and pest resistant. Reduced chemical use in crop management conserves the environment. They can also be genetically manipulated to contain extra nutrient s. The crops will require lower maintenance and farmers will benefit from crop-protection transgenic strategies (Wambugu, 1999). Increasing food security will stabilize their economies and quality of life. Most people in arid and semi arid countries depend on single food crops and endowing these plants with more nutrients through genetic engineering will reduce incidences of food malnutrition. Most opponents of genetic engineering state that it is ethically wrong and that it is harmful. Adequate Legislation can ensure ethical practices and strict adherence to regulations can be monitored effectively. I conquer that more research should be done to understand the long term effects of genetically engineered crops on the ecosystem and on human health.
References
Vasil, I.K. (1998). Plant biotechnology: Achievements and Opportunities at the Threshold of the 21st Century. Paper Presented at the IX International Congress on Plant Tissue and Cell Culture, Jerusalem Israel.
Wambugu, F. (1999). Why Africa Needs Agricultural Biotech. Nature, 400, p15-16

2.
a. Experimental animals are the most reliable means of detecting toxic and chemical properties risk on health of humans as human data is very limited in relation to the compounds being analyzed.
b. The dose-response curve illustrates the change in an organism caused by different levels of exposure in a given time. The route of administration and the exposure time is crucial in understanding the response relationship. The response curve help toxicologists determine safe and hazardous levels for the compounds under study.
c. LD50 is the amount of substance required to kill 50% of the test population usually measured in mg/body weight. A substance with a high LD50 is safer because it requires higher concentration to cause 50% death to the test population. A substance with a low LD50 requires very little concentrations to cause 50% death in test population and hence is more lethal.
3.
I support the precautionary principle because it is our duty to prevent some threats of damage, particularly threats of serious environmental damage even when we lack scientific certainty about their existence or magnitude (Raffensberger and Tickner, 1999). Human instigated risks to the environment can be termed as inequitable (John, 2010) as it is our moral obligation to protect the environment. The costs and effects of damage to the environment are so serious that compensation and remedial action is impossible. If species become extinct, it is a loss of diversity that is irreplaceable. The costs of damage far outweigh the benefits and considering the advance in technology very many new artificial compounds are invented and they should be strictly regulated to prevent harmful effects to human health and the environment.
References
John, S. (2010). In Defense of Bad Science and Irrational Policies: an Alternative Account of the Precautionary Principle. Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, 13(1), 3-18. doi:10.1007/s10677-009-9169-3
Raffensberger, C. and Tickner J. (1999). Protecting Public Health and Environment: Implementing Precautionary Principle. Island, Washington, D.C pp1-11 Read More
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