Climate Change Could Make These Common Foods Poisonous
An apple a day ... could kill you?
We interrupt your current coronavirus panic with this friendly reminder that the planet is still literally dying, and it’s prepared to take us down with it.
Along with all the other perils unchecked climate change will pose to human life on earth, it could also make our food toxic. According to Vice, plants have ways of protecting themselves in the face of a shifting climate, and many of them involve becoming toxic to humans. Dramatic circumstances can cause shifts in plants’ chemical makeup that could make them poisonous to humans, meaning a combination of various climate change effects including extreme weather, poverty and hunger can all have negative, potentially toxic effects on many of the foods commonly consumed by humans.
Drought can cause crops like barley, maize or millet to build up too much nitrate, large amounts of which can stop red blood cells from transporting oxygen in the human body in what scientist Jacqueline McGlade has called a “poison chalice.” Meanwhile, extreme weather in the opposite direction can also cause toxins to build up in other common crops. As Vice noted, heavy rains can cause toxic levels of hydrogen cyanide — an ingredient that can be found in some types of chemical warfare, as Reuters pointed out — or prussic acid to build up in foods like flax, maize, sorghum, arrow grass, cherries and apples.
“As we look forward and see the effects of climate change, we can really start to see the upper end of this: 70 percent of agriculture production is going to be affected by either too much rain or too little rain,” McGlade told Vice. “So we need to be aware: this exposes potentially billions to toxins.”
In other words, if we keep trying to kill the planet, the planet will literally poison us with our own food. So please keep in mind that if coronavirus doesn’t kill us all, climate change definitely will.
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