The first generation of biotech crops has failed. And failed badly. Now the biotech industry is stepping up the chemical arms race in an effort to make up for the failure of Monsanto’s Roundup. Excessive use of Roundup by GMO farmers has led million of acres of U.S. farmland filled with Roundup resistant superweeds.
To combat this, Dow Chemical is petitioning the USDA to approve a new GMO Agent Orange corn to tolerate 2,4-D, a main chemical component of the Vietnam era defoliant linked to birth defects, cancer, and hormone disruption. On top of these horrific health problems, 2,4-D is widely known among farmers to be difficult to control during application, leading to drift onto neighboring farms, causing major crop damage and contaminating waterways.
These facts have greatly alarmed scientists and farmers alike, leading a former top Reagan USDA official to declare 2,4-D one of “the most dangerous chemicals out there.”
Tell the USDA to Dump Dow’s Dangerous Agent Orange Corn!
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
I am writing to urge you to reject approval of Dow’s genetically engineered corn (DAS-40278-9) designed to survive repeated spraying of the toxic herbicide 2,4-D (Docket No. APHIS–2010–0103), a major component of Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant used by the U.S. military in Vietnam.
The scientific community has sounded alarms about the dangers of 2,4-D for decades. Numerous studies link 2,4-D exposure to major health problems such as cancer, lowered sperm counts, liver toxicity and Parkinson’s disease. Lab studies show that 2,4-D causes endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity, and immunosuppression.
Commercial approval of Dow’s corn will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use, but USDA has not conducted a meaningful review of the consequent harm to native ecosystems, crop injury from 2,4-D drifting onto neighboring fields, or the evolution of weeds resistant to 2,4-D.
Additionally, Dow plans to sell this GE 2-4,D corn “stacked” with resistance to glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup—or yet other herbicides, yet neither Dow nor USDA has analyzed the potential synergistic or cumulative impacts that these planned combinations pose.
Dow is hyping 2,4-D corn as the supposed solution to glyphosate-resistant weeds, which themselves were fostered by GE Roundup Ready crop systems.
Yet studies already indicate this approach will rapidly generate weeds with resistance to both herbicides. Given the numerous inadequacies in the USDA’s Environmental Assessment (EA), an approval of this crop should not be considered without at least a full and rigorous Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
At a time when farmers, citizens and government have worked hard to limit our use of, and exposure to, toxic chemicals like 2,4-D and dioxin, approving this crop would take us dramatically backwards, endangering human health and the environment.
If USDA wants to adhere to a true scientific process, it should stop ignoring the science that doesn’t suit the interests of the biotechnology industry.
I urge you to heed the warnings of the scientific and environmental communities and deny approval of 2,4-D resistant GE corn.