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 Soy 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 Soy!
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
I am writing to urge you not to approve Dow’s genetically engineered soybeans, DAS-68416-4, designed to survive repeated spraying of the toxic herbicide 2,4-D (Docket No. APHIS-2012-0032 and APHIS-2012-0019), 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, Parkinson’s disease and birth anomalies in the children of pesticide applicators. Industry and independent scientific tests show that 2,4-D is still contaminated with dioxins. Dioxin contaminants in Agent Orange are thought to be a major cause of many serious medical conditions in both Vietnam veterans and the Vietnamese, including birth defects in the children of exposed parents. EPA has reported that 2,4-D is the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S.
Commercial approval of Dow’s soy 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. 2,4-D is already the number one culprit in drift-related crop injury complaints, and the huge increase in its use with 2,4-D soy will exacerbate these harms. Even the existing uses of 2,4-D have been found likely to jeopardize protected species such as Pacific salmon, and likely to adversely affect the California red-legged frog and Alameda whipsnake; USDA’s approval of 2,4-D soy would worsen these impacts, as well as place many other similar and endangered species at risk.
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 dioxins, approving this crop would take us dramatically backwards, endangering human health and the environment. I urge you to heed the warnings of the scientific and environmental communities and deny approval of 2,4-D resistant GE soy. At the very least, USDA must conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement that carefully examines the human health, environmental and agricultural harms that will be triggered by 2,4-D soy, including a cumulative assessment that considers the compounded harms from additional deregulation of Dow’s 2,4-D resistant corn.