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.)
400 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DRIFT?
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.
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.
(photo by Roger Smith)