New GMOs: Agent Orange Resistant Soy & Corn


What’s Big Ag’s answer to the growing threat of Round-Up resistant superweeds? Why, creating an even deadlier GMO commodity crop that’s resistant to a more powerful herbicide, of course!

That’s what Dow has done — created genetically-modified varieties of corn & soy that are resistant to 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (commonly known as 2,4-D), the chemical that makes up half of the infamous Agent Orange herbicide deployed during the Vietnam war.

The USDA is currently taking comments (through February 24th) on these 2,4-D resistant crops.

Not safe, by any means.

Because Agent Orange has been around for a while, we’ve got a lot of data on the safety of 2,4-D.

Unfortunately, it’s been linked to hormone imbalances, nervous system damage, reduced immunity, and reproductive problems. (source)

And aside from public health concerns, the environmental impact of routine use of this herbicide are staggering:

Aside from its harmful endocrine and carcinogenic effects, 2,4-D is a very volatile herbicide, which can easily drift onto nearby crops, vegetables and flowers. In fact, a comparative risk assessment found that 2,4-D was 400 times more likely to cause non-target plant injury than glyphosate (also known as Roundup, the herbicide many currently used GE crops are engineered to survive.)


Yep, you read that right.

What’s so bad about drift? Aside from the obvious (all the nearby plant life that is unintentionally harmed), the EPA’s own toxicity research found the herbicide to be “very highly toxic” to freshwater and marine invertebrates. (source)

Conservative estimates say the use of the 2,4-D herbicide will increase 50-fold if these new GMO crops make it to market (others are placing the increase at nearly 400-fold!).

That means there will be at least 50 times more of this toxic herbicide in our waterways, 50 times more of it to affect neighboring ecosystems.

Additionally, in March 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) released its Draft Biological Opinions and concluded that, “the proposed registration of pesticides containing 2,4-D … are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of one or more of the 28 endangered and threatened Pacific salmonids and 2,4-D are likely to adversely modify or destroy the designated critical habitat for one or more of the 28 threatened and endangered salmonids.”

TAKE ACTION: Tell the USDA to Reject 2,4-D Resistant Corn & Soy

The good news is that from now until February 24, 2014, the USDA is accepting comments on its pending approval of Dow’s 2,4-D Resistant Corn & Soy crops.

Click here to submit your comments online.

The following tips for submitting comments are from The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund:

  • Write your comment ahead of time and save it on your computer. Because there is a time limit when using the Federal Register System, you may get timed out if you write your comment from scratch.
  • If your comment is less than one page (5000 characters including spaces), you can copy and paste it directly into the “Comment” box.
  • If your comment is longer, write “see attached” instead and UPLOAD a separate document with your comments, such as a Word or PDF file.
  • The “Comment” box counts the characters and spaces so you’ll know if your comment is more than 5000.

Click here for comment talking points, facts sheets, and more!

(photo by Roger Smith)


  1. says

    Wow… after reading a bit of primary experimental research, I would go so far as to point out that your post is on the conservative side. The Panna article is a review “light”. There is actually quite a LOT of research.
    I will give some citations here and will leave them as my commentary at
    The first is very interesting because it studies the antioxidant effects of olive oil on the increased enzymatic activity in livers exposed to 2,4D. It actually worked very well… HOWEVER, looking at the effects of the chemical on the liver… I’m thinking it’s not worth it. Poor rats.
    I’m always astonished at how many people marvel at my real food consumption. Not the stereotype for “healthy foodie”, my colleagues are amazed at how much I know about vegetables.
    Here they are:
    Nakbi, A., Tayeb, W., Grissa, A., Issaoui, M., Dabbou, S., Chargui, I., & … Hammami, M. (2010). Effects of olive oil and its fractions on oxidative stress and the liver’s fatty acid composition in 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid-treated rats. Nutrition & Metabolism, 780-90. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-80
    Troudi, A., Soudani, N., Mahjoubi Samet, A., Ben Amara, I., & Zeghal, N. (2011). 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid effects on nephrotoxicity in rats during late pregnancy and early postnatal periods. Ecotoxicology And Environmental Safety, 74(8), 2316-2323. doi:10.1016/j.ecoenv.2011.07.032
    Ahmadi, F., & Bakhshandeh, F. (2009). In Vitro Study of Damaging Effects of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid on DNA Structure by Spectroscopic and Voltammetric Techniques. DNA & Cell Biology, 28(10), 527-533. doi:10.1089/dna.2009.0892
    Hassanein, K. A. (2012). Histopathological effects of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid on Sprague-Dawley rats with special reference to its possible carcinogenicity.(RESEARCH)(Report). Veterinary World, (1). 24.
    This ought to get you started. Notice that this is NOT NEW research.

  2. Wild Lantana via Facebook says

    There really is a conspiracy to make people sick and weak and stupid. Don’t believe it? Then you are asleep and/or in denial.

  3. Julie Gorrell via Facebook says

    I have two personal friends who are seriously disabled because of Agent Orange -from their service in VietNam. Now our whole country should be exposed?

  4. Rita Whalen via Facebook says

    I f you click on the article you can comment to Dow how you feel about their latest chemical that will be in our waterways and blowing in the wind.

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