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“Agent Orange” Corn: Biotech Only Winner in Chemical Arms Race as Herbicide Resistant Crops Fail

February 23, 2012

 

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) iscurrently deciding whether or not to approve an application by Dow Chemical for its controversial genetically engineered (GE) corn variety that is resistant to the highly toxic herbicide 2,4-D, one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange.


This GE corn will foster rapid evolution of resistant weeds that require more toxic pesticides to kill, followed by more resistance and more pesticides–a chemical arms race in which the only winners are pesticide (aka biotechnology) firms.

The advent of Dow's 2,4-D resistant corn is a clear indication that first-generation GE, herbicide-resistant crops–Monsanto's Roundup Ready (RR) varieties–are rapidly failing. RR crops, which comprise 84 percent of world biotech plantings, have triggered massive use of glyphosate (Roundup's active ingredient) and an epidemic of glyphosate-resistant weeds. These resistant "superweeds" are regarded as one of the major challenges facing American agriculture.

2,4-D corn is only the first of many new herbicide-resistance crops being developed by the biotechnology industry to usher in a new era of increased chemical use that represents a verysignificant opportunity for Dow, Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, and Syngenta. These "biotechnology" companies are actually pesticide firms that have acquired a large portion of the world's seed supply, and they use biotechnology to create synergies between their seed and pesticide divisions. In short, biotechnology = pesticide + seeds. One indication of this is that nearly two-thirds of GE crops pending approval by our USDA (13 of 20) are herbicide-resistant. 2,4-D drift and runoff also pose serious risk for environmental harm. Because it is such a potent plant-killer, 2,4-D can harm animals by killing the plants they depend on for habitat and food. TheU.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries Service have found that 2,4-D is likely having adverse impacts on several endangered species, even now. 2,4-D is currently used to control weeds primarily in cereal grains, golf courses and lawns. 

If approved, millions of acres of Agent Orange corn could be planted as early as next year, raising concern for its adverse health impacts. 2,4-D was one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant used by the U.S. in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemical compounds, which are responsible for a host of serious medical conditions–from diabetes to cancer to birth defects–in Vietnam veterans as well as Vietnamese and their children. Industry's own tests show that 2,4-D is still contaminated with dioxins.
 
 
 
Legacy of Our Veterans' Military Exposures
  1. Mitchel L Rolfer Reply

    I am so happy we have sites that tell the truth about AO and 2/4/D, what I will never understand, is the Why.  Why!!! if we already know how harmful these chemicals are and the harm they do, do we still want to use them.  These chemicals have killed and maimed  thousands, but yet we still approve the use of them.  I have said over and over that if the whole intent is to help feed the world through tainted meat poultry and the rest of the food supply.  How will that help, if no one is left to consume it.. Death is death and you don't get to hang around and celebrate it.  Please lets stop all the stupidity…. Just Saying.

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