According to him, the radio active waves produce by GSM is capable of causing extensive damage to tissues and could cause cancer to the affected part. Unlike GSM that produces direct radio active waves, genetically modifies organism are just the combination of desired traits of plants or animals to produce either disease, drought resistance crops or enhance essential vitamins in crops.
The GM process which is done in science laboratory spark public condemnation with claims GMOs are deadly and threats people’s health.
However, Prof. Powell, who himself is genetics expert said, the use of GSM cell phones are more dangerous than the consumption of GMOs and described the public outcry over the dangers of GMOs to health as scientifically unfounded.
The University of Aberystwyth’s Professor comments came at the time people were rubbishing GM foods and describing it as deadly to humans and animals. But speaking to participants in an interview section during a training workshop on initiating dialogue on plants breeding, genetics and bio sciences for farming which was organised by Bio sciences for Farming in Africa (B4F4) for some selected Ghanaian journalists in Accra, the Agriculture scientist Prof. Powell explained that, the term GM foods or GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques.
He said, the modification of plants in the laboratory is to enhance their desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides, pesticides, drought or improved their nutritional content and that nothing dangerous about the use of GMOs has been scientifically proven.
The GM technology was developed after the second war II to help boost agriculture to meet global food supply. GM process involves the transfer of genes responsible for desired traits of plants such as drought and insects tolerance, or high nutritional content into a different plant. The best known example of this is the use of Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t. genes) used in corn and other crops, he explained.
He said “GSM is known scientifically to be causing damage to the tissues of humans. The use of GSM cell phones are dangerous more than genetically modified food but everybody uses GSM without complaining”.
According to Prof. Powell, though people were aware of the effects of radio active waves produce by GSM on their health, they continue to use GSM phones simple because the benefits gain from the use of GSM outweigh the dangers associated to it uses.
Prof. Powell dispelled perceptions held by sections of the general public that consumption of GM foods are dangerous to human health saying “what they say about GMOs are not accurate and scientifically baseless”. Professor Powell said, like other products, GMOs are not 100 per cent zero effects but the dangers associated to the consumption of GMOs have not been scientifically proven. “There is nothing that has zero effects so is GMOs”, he said.
“The enhancement of desired traits has traditionally been undertaken through breeding, but conventional plant breeding methods can be very time consuming and are often not very accurate. However, genetics engineering can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy”, Professor Jim Dunwell from the University of Reading, UK indicated earlier in one of his presentations during the training programme.
He also disapproved negative comments associated to GM products and that GMOs are to ensure regular supply of food to the increasing population by controlling pests, crops diseases and improving their nutritional content for the well being of both humans and animals. Prof. Jim Dunwell said the concerns raised against GMOs are as a result lack adequate knowledge about GM.
A Scientist at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission who wants to remain anonymous confirmed to this reporter in a telephone interview that GSM produces radio active waves that can cause damage to tissues of part of human body. The scientist said, what is not known is how long it takes to cause that damages adding that scientists were still investigating that.
The scientist would not comment further whether the commission had undertaken such research in Ghana but only to say “companies in this business will not be pleased”.
The Secretary to Ghana Bio safety Regulatory Authority, Mr. Eric A. Okoree said that concerns raised over the safety of GMOs are fears that existed when new discoveries are made. He however assured Ghanaians that the framework on bio safety has been put in place to address the concerns of its safety.
Some environmental activists, religious organizations, public interest groups, and professional associations and government officials have all raised concerns about GM foods, and criticized companies in agriculture business for pursuing profit without concern for potential hazards in the use of GMO. Most the concerns raised against GMO are based on environmental, human health risk and economic.