By Sum of Us
Next week, the USDA will decide whether to allow Monsanto and Dow to introduce one half of the chemical mixture Agent Orange into our food supply. Widescale use of Roundup has led to a new generation of resistant weeds, and the next step in the pesticide arms race is 2,4-D — a chemical linked to cancer, Parkinson’s and reproductive problems. Add your name to our letter to the USDA urging them to deny approval for Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant GMO corn.
Farmers that sign up to use genetically-engineered 2,4-D-resistant corn will be required to spray down their fields with both 2,4-D and Roundup, double-dosing our food, our soil and our waterways with the toxins. Some experts estimate this will increase the use of 2,4-D 50-fold, even though the EPA says the chemical is already our seventh-largest source of dioxins — nasty, highly toxic chemicals that bioaccumulate as they move up the food chain and cause cancer, developmental damage, and birth defects.
We can stop this. The use of 2,4-D is banned entirely in parts of Canada and Europe, and right now the US Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments on 2,4-D to decide whether or not to approve the widespread industrial use of the toxin.
This is part of a growing problem, an escalating herbicide war going on across America’s heartland. From 1996 to 2008, herbicide usage increased by 383 million pounds. Nearly half of this took place between 2007 and 2008 after the introduction of another strain of herbicide-resistant plant pushed by Dow. Like Roundup before it, 2,4-D is only a temporary solution that will require more and more tons of toxins and more and more potent chemicals leaching into our food supply.
2,4-D is nasty stuff and has been linked to a number of health problems, such as tripling the rates of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Nebraska farmworkers exposed to it and causing reproductive problems — birth defects and high rates of miscarriage — in both mice and men exposed to it in the lab and field.
Citations and further reading:
Overview of the toxic effects of 2,4-D, Sierra Club, January 2005.
A Case-Control Study of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the Herbicide 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2, 4-D) in Eastern Nebraska, Epidemiology, 1990.
Reregistration Eligibility Decision for 2,4-D, EPA, June 2005
chemicalWATCH Factsheet, Beyond Pesticides, July 2004
GM Crops Increase Herbicide Use in the United States, Institute of Science in Society, January 2010
Study Links Weed Killer to Reproductive Problems, Los Angeles Times, September 2002
Agent Orange in Your Backyard: The Harmful Pesticide 2,4-D, The Atlantic, February 2012
‘Agent Orange’ Corn: The next stage in the chemical arms race, The Center for Food Safety, February 2012