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Agent Orange Dow Chemical: Dow Chemical petitions for a return of 2,4 D and new GMOs resistant to it

February 12, 2012

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced that Dow AgroScience Company is seeking deregulation of a new genetically engineered corn (DAS -4027809), tolerant to broadleaf phenoxy auxin herbicides such as 2,4-D  and grass herbicides such as quizalofop, and is soliciting public comments by February 27, 2012, to be submitted at:!searchResults;rpp=10;po=0;s=APHIS-2010-0103

2,4-D  toxicity well documented

A study of farm homes in Iowa in 2006 showed that 95% of the homes were polluted with detectable levels of 2,4-D [9]; 2,4-D was detected in 100 % of the surface drinking-water supplies of the Northern Great Plains of Canada [10]. There is substantive evidence that 2,4 –D and its contaminant dioxins are implicated in soft tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After Sweden banned the herbicide in the early 1970s the incidence of two cancers declined [11]. Birth malformations and other adverse perinatal outcomes were observed in four US wheat-producing states. Infant death from congenital anomalies significantly increased in high-wheat counties for males but not for females. These results are especially of concern because of widespread use of chlorophenoxy herbicides [12]. A significant increase in the use of 2,4-D  is likely to increase the  incidence of some cancers and birth defects.

Recent studies showed that 2,4-D  was teratogenic to a South American toad, resulting in reduced body size, delayed development, microcephaly and abnormal cellular proliferation  [13].  At low concentration, 2,4-D  stimulated transcription of the c-Myc  cancer gene  and induced apoptosis (cell suicide)  in Syrian hamster embryo cells, suggesting that 2,4-D should be considered a hazard to humans [14]. It has also been shown to affect the expression of many genes in human liver (hepatoma) cells, including those involved in DNA repair. Human hepatoma HepG2 cells were incubated with 2,4-D or nitrate alone for 24 h. Total RNA from treated and control cells were isolated, reverse transcribed and  labelled, and hybridized to a human cDNA microarray. The hybridized microarray chips were scanned, quantified and analyzed to identify genes affected by 2,4-D or nitrate exposure. Low-level exposure altered the expression of many genes. The affected genes were those involved in stress response, cell cycle control, immunological and DNA repair [15]. A 2005 report prepared by the Sierra Club of Canada made reference to over 75 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the toxicity of 2,4-D documenting  genotoxicity,  cancer, teratogenicity, neurotoxic, immunosuppressive, cytotoxic and hepatoxic  impacts in humans and animals [16].  In view of the numerous toxic effects of the herbicide, introducing GM maize resistant to 2,4-D is simply out of the question.

To conclude

DAS-40278-9 Maize is a step backward in terms of environmental pollution. The raison d'etre of the product is that it provides an alternative to GM crops which have grown useless as a consequence of weeds resistant to herbicides for which they have been made tolerant. However, replacing them with GM tolerance to a herbicide that has been around for over seventy years is surely a retrograde step, as during that time, a number of weeds resistant to it such as wild carrot and water hemp has already evolved; not to mention its documented toxicity. The plan to stack 2,4-D resistance with glyphosate simply multiplies the calamities in terms of herbicide toxicities and weed resistances.

It is a sure sign that the herbicide treadmill has run its course, and the only way ahead is organic, integrated pest-management and agro-ecological farming [19] (Food Futures Now: *Organic *Sustainable *Fossil Fuel Free , ISIS publication).


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2,4 D a component of Agent Orange

Legacy of Our Veterans' Military Exposures

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