(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2012) Dow Chemical has asked USDA for approval of genetically engineered (GE) corn, modified to be tolerant to the highly toxic 2,4-D herbicide, which is contaminated with dioxin and linked to cancer, birth defects and more. We know from experience that herbicide-tolerant crops are a bad idea. They increase toxic pesticide use, contaminate organic and non-GE farms, and contribute to herbicide-resistance.
In fact, Dow introduced a new GE corn variety because weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, the previous chemical of choice for herbicide-tolerant plants. However, solving herbicide resistance with a new, more toxic chemical is like using gasoline to put out a fire. It will cause even more damage to health and the environment, and in a few years, the pesticide industry will be marketing their next “solution” to the growing resistance problem.
Read Beyond Pesticides full comments to USDA for Dow’s petition to approve 2-4,D-resistant GE corn.
Tell USDA to stop this toxic experiment and deny Dow’s petition for 2,4-D tolerant corn. Sign your organization or business onto Beyond Pesticides’ comments or submit comments directly to the USDA docket. The deadline to sign on is Friday, April 27 at noon.
In a radio interview on WBAI in New York City, Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman said, “The USDA is proposing approving a new GE corn variety that is resistant to a different toxic herbicide, escalating the toxic treadmill in chemical-dependent agriculture. This is nothing more than a band-aid solution to a serious problem, and will only give rise to more superweeds, more herbicide pollution in our environment, more herbicide poisoning, while likely leading to the need for even more toxic herbicides a couple of years down the line. This foolish circle has to end.”
While USDA attempts to assure the public that 2,4-D is safe, scientists have raised serious concerns about the safety of this herbicide. 2,4-D is a chlorophenoxy herbicide, and scientists around the world have reported increased cancer risks in association with its use, especially for soft tissue sarcoma and malignant lymphoma. Four separate studies in the United States reported an association with chlorophenoxy herbicide use and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
This technology, which will increase 2,4-D use, poses a particular hazard for those who live and work in rural areas. Research by EPA found that babies born in counties with high rates of 2,4-D application to farm fields were significantly more likely to be born with birth defects of the respiratory and circulatory systems, as well as defects of the musculoskeletal system like clubfoot, fused digits and extra digits. These birth defects were 60% to 90% more likely in counties with higher 2,4-D application rates. The results also show a higher likelihood of birth defects in babies conceived in the spring, when herbicide application rates peak.
In its petition, Dow states that 2,4-D is increasingly important for chemical farmers because of the presence of weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate, as a result of the widespread use of Monsanto’s genetically engineered glyphosate-resistant crops. Farm research groups are also concerned with the impact of genetically engineered crops on organic farmers, whose organic crops are already at risk of contamination with Monsanto’s unnatural DNA from pollen drift.
Please sign the petition and tell your friends and family! The deadline to sign on is Friday, April 27 at noon. We will include all organizational sign-ons when we submit the comments to EPA and keep all signatories in the loop on this issue.