Quite a few savvy environmentalists are against genetically modified (GMO) plants for any reason.
There are definitely real concerns. But would you consider a GMO version of ivy that cleans chloroform and benzenes out of the air better than a HEPA filter? What if your baby was breathing that stuff in? If you have city water or an attached garage, the baby is definitely getting a dose of both.
Household air is usually more tainted than the air in offices and schools. Toxic substances off-gas from fabrics, furniture, cookware, and cooking. Chlorinated water means your home has chloroform in the air. A lawn mower or car in the garage contributes benzenes. Particle board furniture and wrinkle-free fabrics pile on with formaldehyde. A fireplace or poorly adjusted gas burner on your stove adds carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide.
You have probably heard that houseplants are good for indoor air. They do take out the carbon dioxide and add oxygen. But they aren't very efficient at fighting the other pollutants. It takes about 20 houseplants to clear the formaldehyde found in a typical living room.
I'm not sure how anyone got the brilliant idea, “hmm rabbit plus ivy might work.” But it does. When Professor Stuart Strand at the University of Washington tried introducing the P450 2e1 gene from a rabbit into the common houseplant known as pothos or devil's ivy, he had a winner. In mammals, that gene produces an enzyme that helps break down chemicals. In an ivy plant, it's extremely effective at clearing the air.
Strand and team tested the modified ivy in a container to measure how well it worked. Compared to a regular plant, or no plant at all, the GMO ivy was a star. It broke down 75% of benzene within 8 days. It was even better at making formaldehyde go away. Within 6 days, the pollutant was barely detectable.
The work looks like it has a lot of potential, but no one knows yet how well these plants might work in a regular room or how many it would take to clear the air.
That's not the only concern. GMO plants have a habit of escaping their designated slots. A type of GMO bent grass intended for golf courses has escaped its bounds to clog irrigation systems in Oregon. GMO canola plants from Canada have invaded the Dakotas. Because canola can hybridize easily with other plants, it can become an invasive weed that farmers cannot control, thanks to its built-in resistance to RoundUp.
A Harvard study has concluded beyond any reasonable doubt that RoundUp-ready plants have played a big role in the loss of wild bees.
Most botanists saw that potential trouble coming, but other adverse effects are more shocking surprises.
Who foresaw that GMO crops would lead to more suicides in India? But they have, according to the country's Agricultural Ministry. Farming is hard there. It depends on adequate rain during the monsoon season. But Monsanto's GMO seeds require twice as much water. In years when monsoon rains are a little light, crops fail. Worse, the expensive seeds are often not even capable of resisting pests. They were developed for Western nemesis, not for Indian boll-worms.
We are careful about product sources at Renown Health. It's the reason all our products are made in the US, where we can be sure we know the quality and integrity of anything we use. We do not use GMO plant sources.
As a natural health company, we take the environment seriously. It's where we source everything from feverfew to grape skin extracts to mango seed butter. We think that as a person who uses natural healing products, that's important to you, too.
So, much as we like the idea of formaldehyde-eating ivy plants, we're not hanging any around the office.
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