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Summary: "The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition to ban the sale of the 2,4-D pesticide, a major ingredient in the Vietnam-era defoliant 'Agent Orange.' Despite its current widespread availability, use of 2,4-D could skyrocket soon because its main manufacturer, Dow Chemical, is hoping to receive approval to sell genetically modified corn seeds that are resistant to 2,4-D."

The EPA has paved the way for Dow Chemical to give us corn with a key ingredient from Agent Orange. (photo: Alliance for Natural Health)
The EPA has paved the way for Dow Chemical to give us corn with a key ingredient from Agent Orange. (photo: Alliance for Natural Health)

EPA Paves Way for "Agent Orange" GM Corn

By Common Dreams Staff

10 April 12


he Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition to ban the sale of the 2,4-D pesticide, a major ingredient in the Vietnam-era defoliant 'Agent Orange'. Despite its current widespread availability, use of 2,4-D could skyrocket soon because its main manufacturer, Dow Chemical, is hoping to receive approval to sell genetically modified corn seeds that are resistant to 2,4-D.

"Dow's 'Agent Orange' corn will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use - and our exposure to this toxic herbicide - yet USDA has not assessed how much, nor analyzed the serious harm to human health, the environment or neighboring farms," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. (Image: EcoWatch) The decision from the EPA came in response to a lawsuit from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in January of this year, who filed the suit after the EPA refused to respond to a petition the environmental group first submitted in 2008.

"This dangerous pesticide is lurking all over the place - from ball fields and golf courses, to front lawns and farms - exposing an enormous amount of the American public to cancer and other serious health risks," NRDC senior scientist Dr. Gina Solomon said, during the announcement of the move in January. "There's no reason to continue allowing a toxic Agent Orange-ingredient in the places our children play, our families live and our farmers work. EPA must step up and finally put a stop to it."

The EPA's decision on Monday, however, rejected the idea that 2,4-D was a health or "safety" threat, and even pointed to a Dow Chemical conducted study to support their decision.

The Center for Food Safety, who worked alongside NRDC to push the ban, expressed deep concern for the increased use of 2,4-D if Dow's new corn seeds are approved. "Dow's 'Agent Orange' corn will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use - and our exposure to this toxic herbicide - yet USDA has not assessed how much, nor analyzed the serious harm to human health, the environment or neighboring farms," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. "This novel corn will foster 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/biotechnology firms."

The New York Times reports:

[NRDC] cited various studies suggesting that exposure to 2,4-D could cause cancer, hormone disruption, genetic mutations and neurotoxicity. It also said the E.P.A., in previous assessments, had underestimated how much people, especially children, might be exposed to the chemical through dust, breast milk and skin contact.

In its ruling, the E.P.A. said that while some studies cited suggested that high doses of the chemical could be harmful, they did not establish lack of safety, and in some cases they were contradicted by other studies.

The agency in particular cited a study, financed by the 2,4-D manufacturers and conducted by Dow, in which the chemical was put into the feed of rats. The study did not show reproductive problems in the rats or problems in their offspring that might be expected if 2,4-D were disrupting hormone activity, the E.P.A. said.

Center for Food Safety: The Danger of 'Agent Orange' Corn

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.

"Many studies show that 2,4 D exposure is associated with various forms of cancer, Parkinson's Disease, nerve damage, hormone disruption and birth defects," said Dr. Amy Dean, an internal medicine physician and president-elect of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. "Because it poses significant health risk, exposure should not be increased, but significantly reduced to protect the public's health."

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. The U.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 and lawns. Its use in corn has been extremely limited. USDA's approval of 2,4-D resistant GE corn will increase the overall use of this toxic herbicide, worsening these impacts and likely placing many other species at risk.

American farmers are also rightly concerned that the introduction of 2,4-D resistant corn will threaten their crops: 2,4-D drift is responsible for more episodes of crop injury than any other herbicide. "In my experience, 2,4-D is an herbicide that can and does drift considerable distances to damage neighboring crops," said Indiana farmer Troy Roush. "We can expect greatly increased use of 2,4-D with Dow's new corn, and that could wreak havoc with soybeans, tomatoes and other crops my neighbors and I grow."

The advent of Dow's 2,4-D resistant corn is a clear indication that first-generation genetically engineered, 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. your social media marketing partner


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+38 # Willman 2012-04-10 19:17
When the weeds become resistant to AO then what? How about bottling up the radiation from the nuke plant in japan and spraying that on the land.
These chemical god wanna be'e are screwing it up for everyone.
+5 # KittatinyHawk 2012-04-11 10:44
Already suing
+33 # Althea 2012-04-10 22:15
These folks and their supporters/mast ers do not realize how serious we are about having SAFE food for our families. We've got to show them we mean business! Organize! Take Action!
+37 # reiverpacific 2012-04-10 22:41
And they wonder why bees are becoming endangered!
When will "THEY" realize that what they do to other species in their insatiable push for greed and control, they will eventually do to themselves (but sadly, the regenerative species first).
The piper WILL be paid but at what cost?
The planet has it's own balancing push back and can carry on without us; brush us off even.
-4 # T4D 2012-04-10 23:17
All grasses, including corn are now and have alway been resistant to 2,4-D. It has been used on corn for over 60 years with no adverse effect.
+7 # noitall 2012-04-10 23:51
No cause to worry! They won't be labeled. Ignorance is bliss.
+19 # Regina 2012-04-10 23:55
Simple solution: When this corn hits the markets, don't buy it! There are other veggies to eat for a balanced diet. Let it rot in the fields and see the vaunted profits evaporate. Also, quit corn flakes, corn meal, etc. Sorry about the cornbread -- you won't be able to bake any.
+2 # SOF 2012-04-12 01:10
Good luck avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup -HFCS. In everything, and at least 93% of corn is already GMO. Maybe we should insist Monsanto start a fund for treating inevitable cancers in 15-20 years.
+2 # X Dane 2012-04-12 17:44
You are right Regina. It may not make much of a difference , but I will not buy corn and luckily I don't drink sodas or buy processed foods, so I think I will avoid the corn syrup. I will not miss cornbread for I never liked it.
I don't know how we can spread the word sufficiently to make an impact, but we can try.
+24 # infohiway 2012-04-11 00:47
Clearly 60-odd years of brain and bone damaging, plus cancer causing, fluoridation has exacted its inevitable toll:
1. One child in 88 is autistic while the
2. Idiot savants running business and government are considered to be 'gifted'.
+19 # Valleyboy 2012-04-11 03:51
Agriculture is moving in the wrong direction, from bad to worse!

I find it flabbergasting that the EPA continues to rely on studies funded by industry.
Time & time again these studies have been shown to use the wrong framework, or use an extremely short time frame, or just plain cook the books.

Think about it, if you were an industry scientist, would you risk your job by telling your bosses you had proved that their product was dangerous and you were about to tell the world?

I consider the EPA at best as heavily compromised and at worst, as an arm of industry.

The answer is fully independent testing, NOW!
+18 # angelfish 2012-04-11 07:15
WHEN does this Government start LISTENING to it's Citizens? We are sold down the river so Big Corporations can wreak havoc on the land and no amount of petitions and/or protesting can stop it!
+9 # Vardoz 2012-04-11 09:07
Our govt is paying soldiers benefits who were exposed to agent orange and now they are going to put it in our food! Insane!
+10 # bittersweet 2012-04-11 10:05
I request that you stop referring to foodstuffs derived from plants, whose genes have been changed by humans, as genetically-mod ified or genetically-eng ineered. The nomenclature given by businesses to making genetic changes in plants and animals, such as "genetically-mod ified" or "genetically-en gineered" are mis-leading. Genetically-mod ified sounds like genetically-mol lified, a no-big-deal thing. Genetically-eng ineered implies certainty and precision. The long-term effects of changing the genetics of food in relation to how those crops will interact with unmodified crops, and how the eating of tampered food will affect humans is unknown and un-certain. I request that you refer to these organisms as GTO's or "Genetically-Ta mpered Organisms" in order to put a negative spin on the subject. We need to put a negative "spin" on this subject, just as the promoters of this technology have put a posItive spin on this subject. Share with friends.
+11 # jwb110 2012-04-11 10:46
I have friends who served in Viet Nam that were subject to drifting clouds of agent orange while in the battlefields. There lives and health were greatly affected. Many had cancers of the throat and voice box. None of it a pretty sight.
When is someone in Washington going to mention that a healthy populace is a matter of National Security.
+3 # SOF 2012-04-12 01:14
Not until they are invested in our health with a single payer healthplan - paying for it from our taxes -like Europe -where they have successfully fought GMOs.
+3 # Anarchist 23 2012-04-12 11:32
I just returned form Viet Nam. I was treated to a lovely concert of villagers in the Mekong Delta-the star of the little show was a blind boy-born that way-without eyes- thanks to Agent Orange. We were told that he has determined never to marry to avoid passing on his condition to his children. Agent Orange-the gift that keeps on giving. Where once the war was abroad, against foreigners of whom the vast majority (the 'Silent' majority who elected Nixon/ and Kissinger by association for example) cared nothing-the war has now come home to them-in the form of a polluted Fascist Heimat (Homeland) while their sons and daughters are sacrificed in a way that makes 'Hunger Games' look like a trite derivative to the earlier and even more insightful episode of the original 'Star Trek' where a certain number of each warring planet's population were by lottery destroyed in a treaty preventing a 'shooting' war. The Faustian bargain has been made and it is surely being kept by the Powers That Be and you and your children are the flesh and blood sacrifices to their Moloch God! It is going to take more than an election-it is going to take a change in consciousness so radical that even the most optimistic among us can hardly see how it can happen before a multitude of Evils in the Armagedon Sweepstakes (Fuk-U Shima, BP E.L E.of Gulf of Mexico, War with Iran, Fascist Takeover, Bee Colony Collapse etc.)over-run us all.
+2 # cordleycoit 2012-04-11 19:44
Hey how many people eat? How many people care about what they are eating? Major chemical corporations do not care what they feed us and they will fight us for the right to poison us. It is their right to kill us and we best not speak out. Resist them even as they kill us off.
+5 # Street Level 2012-04-11 21:01
My Nam Vet friend said that when he came home the VA told him that his benefits would cover diabetes, cancer, Parkinsons and a whole laundry list of diseases that they KNEW he would be likely to develop over time. The Military KNEW back then and Dow, FDA, EPA and Washington all KNOW it.

We have to put an end to "CORPORATE PERSONHOOD". It's not just the unlimited campaign donations, it's the power of "Personhood" combined with a revolving door that needs to be nailed shut forever. This is a travesty.
+2 # Eliza D 2012-04-12 09:38
Regina: Unfortunately there is NOT a simple solution for this food tampering. As SOF has pointed out, corn starch and corn syrup are ubiquitous. Furthermore, about 90% of soybeans are now genetically modified as well as about 80% of potatoes and zucchini. Check labels and research food production. Food Inc. and Fresh are great documentaries to start with. The best thing is for us to grow our own food,individual ly or in groups. We must get these corrupt villains who are destroying our planet out of office. Stephen J. Hawking says it is already too late for our planet, and we should look at colonizing other planets. I'm praying he doesn't really believe that and there is still time. But we have to support Willie Nelson's Farm Aid and other such groups.
+2 # BLBreck 2012-04-12 16:41
Back in the 50's, the phrase "Better Living Through Chemistry" was a huge catch-phrase. So we got kids running behind and in the flow of trucks spraying massive amounts of DDT....oops. We are now living the legacy of the Better Living Through Chemistry paradigm. A plague of obesity, allergies, fertility problems, Autism and diabetes and cancer clusters. We are the guinea pigs for these people.

And Valleyboy, the FDA's funding was slashed years ago (probably started with St. Ronny and Bush was more than willing to continue) so they are forced to take the studies paid for by the very corporations they should be protecting us from. Add to that the corruption of our reps by lobbyists... Sigh. We have much work to do to get rid of the people who don't care if they kill us all. They don't even care about their own progeny! Of course, when they do the Earth will breath a sigh of relief and probably have a really nice fireworks display to celebrate.
+1 # lilpat126 2012-04-13 19:53
And I wish upon the EPA, and the chemical industry a rip roarin' case of Parkinson's Disease. As a person who has cared for people with Parkinson's It is a most insidious disease. You never know when you will not be able to move and end up flat on your face on the floor. Not to mention the constant shaking and pill rolling.
But, what the heck you will have all that money.

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