David P. Ropeik, instructor at Harvard, consultant in risk communication and author of "How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don; t Always Match the Facts, has produced a hard-hitting essay in Scientific American that skewers anti-GMO activists such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club for their stance. Mr. Ropeik cites data from a research article in the journal Environment and Development Economics that estimates that 1.4 million life-years have been lost in India alone because of failure to utilize Golden Rice, which has been ready to use since 2002. That statistic, Ropeik points out, accounts not only for those who died, but also for the blindness and other health disabilities that Vitamin A deficiency causes. The majority of those who went blind or died because they did not have access to Golden Rice were children.
He emphasizes, It is absolutely fair to charge that opposition to this particular application of genetically modified food has contributed to the deaths of and injuries to millions of people. The opponents of Golden Rice who have caused this harm should be held accountable.
As readers of Dispatch know, says ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava, We are firmly behind the safety and utility of genetically engineered ingredients and foods. We could not agree more strongly with Mr. Ropeik that the purely ideological anti-GMO stance of these activist groups has and will continue to harm people who have no recourse to this life-saving technology. We applaud Mr. Ropeik for telling it like it is.