Findings in a recent scientific study show that irradiated foods may cause severe neurological damage in cats, including paralysis, visual problems, and movement disorders.
Cats fed a diet of irradiated foods suffered from degradation of myelin, a protective insulator of nerve fibers in the central nervous system ane neurons in the brain.
Loss of the myelin sheet leads to diseases such as multiple sclerosis and impairs the central nervous system. This may result in movement disorders, cognitive problems, pain, and loss of feeling.
Some of the damage in the cats was reversible when they were taken off the irradiated food diet, showing promise for people with MS leading a more normal life with dietary intervention. However, the newly developed myelin was not as thick as the original myelin.
Unfortunately, irradiated foods are increasing and are not required by law to be labeled. Many so-called fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are approved for irradiation with a dose of radiation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the claim of preventing bacteria growth and preserving freshness.
Scientists were quick to dismiss the potential for similar demyelinating in humans. "We think it is extremely unlikely that [irradiated food] could become a human health problem," Ian Duncan., a professor at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, explained.
Others cite the rise in autism, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders along with many studies which show food irradiation produces known toxic and carcinogenic chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects.
Duncan ID, Brower A, Kondo Y, Curlee JF Jr, Schultz RD. Extensive remyelination of the CNS leads to functional recovery. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Apr 2.
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Food irradiation exposes food to the equivalent of 30 million chest X-rays.and food irradiation.
Irradiation creates new chemicals in foods called radiolytic products. Some of these products are known cancer-causing substances (like benzene in irradiated beef). Others are unique to the irradiation process and no one knows what effects these have on human health.
Irradiation destroys essential vitamins and nutrients that are naturally present in food. No studies have been done to show that a long-term diet of irradiated foods is safe. Safer, well-tested alternatives to irradiation exist.
Irradiation plants pose environmental threats to workers and surrounding communities. The transportation of nuclear materials to irradiation facilities also poses severe public health risks.
For information about Food & Water, or for hard copies of this Action Alert, 1-800-EAT-SAFE.