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USDA Moves to Approve "Agent Orange" GMO Seeds

Environment  (tags: climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, environment, Food, globalwarming, greenhousegases, habitat, government, healthconditions, humans, pollution, politics, Toxic food )

- 1865 days ago -
The US Department of Agriculture is leaning toward approving varieties of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to be resistant to several herbicides, including the controversial chemical known as 2,4-D.


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Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 9:18 am
Photo Credit and information: Jody Herr, who believes his tomato field has been poisoned by 2,4-D, the powerful herbicide that was an ingredient in Agent Orange, the Vietnam War defoliant, in a field that he farms in Lowell, Indiana, April 17, 2012. (Photo: Peter Wynn Thompson / The New York Times)

The US Department of Agriculture is leaning toward approving varieties of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to be resistant to several herbicides, including the controversial chemical known as 2,4-D.

Dow Chemical developed the genetically engineered seeds with the brand name Enlist to address the growing problem of "superweeds" that have become resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. Roundup is widely used on genetically engineered crops, which are also known as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Dow claims that Enlist seeds will give farmers an important tool to fight weeds, but pesticide critics and independent researchers say that 2,4-D is linked to health problems. Fighting resistant weeds with tougher chemicals, critics say, is not a sustainable solution to the challenges of modern agriculture.

Just before the start of the weekend January 3, 2014, the USDA released a draft environmental impact statement on the genetically engineered corn and soy seeds, which have been under a strict review since 2011 because of pressure from organic farmers and activists who are concerned about widespread use of 2,4-D. The USDA found that the GMO seeds do not pose a "plant pest risk," and the agency is expected to approve the seeds for general use.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates pesticides, is also reviewing the proposal to inject crops resistant to 2,4-D into the agricultural system. GMO crops such as the Enlist seeds are genetically engineered to resist pesticides marketed by the companies that develop them, allowing farmers to spay entire fields with patented herbicides that kill only weeds and non-GMO plants. In the coming months, the EPA will announce its decision in coordination the USDA.

Food safety activists and environmental activists call the GMO seeds "Agent Orange crops" because 2,4-D was a component of the notorious herbicide used by American forces during the Vietnam War that caused serious illnesses among veterans and the Vietnamese population. Industry proponents point out that Agent Orange's other ingredient, a chemical known as 2,4,5-T, was contaminated with dioxin and made the herbicide dangerous to human health. Meanwhile, 2,4-D has continued to be used in the United States and across the world.

Pesticide critics, however, point to studies that have linked 2,4-D to health problems such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer.

“Any increase in the use of 2,4-D with Enlist corn and soybeans will hit rural communities especially hard, as numerous medical studies have linked 2,4-D and related herbicides to increased rates of cancer and Parkinson’s disease as well as low sperm counts in farmers and to birth anomalies in their children,” said Andrew Kimbrell, director of the Center for Food Safety.

Denmark, Sweden, Norway and parts of Canada have banned 2,4-D in light of such research, but the EPA considers the chemical to be relatively safe. In 2012, the EPA denied a petition from environmental groups to cancel the chemical's legal registration.

2,4-D is the third-most-popular herbicide in the United States, and farmers already are using it to fight Roundup-resistant weeds. The USDA estimates that use of 2,4-D will increase by 75 percent in the next six years if the Enlist crops are not approved. If the Enlist corn and soy are approved, the USDA estimates that the amount of 2,4-D used by farmers will increase further by two to six times.

Researchers at Penn State estimate that the widespread planting of soybeans resistant to 2,4-D would increase the amount of 2,4-D sprayed on American fields to 100 million pounds per year, about four times the current level. The researchers criticized the plan to address resistant weeds with heavy 2,4-D applications as a "quick fix" that would have negative environmental impacts and, over time, increase the superweed epidemic by encouraging weeds to be resistant to multiple herbicides.

A coalition of 144 farming, fishery, environmental and public health groups have asked the USDA not to approve the Enlist seeds, citing health studies and concerns among farmers that 2,4-D would drift onto their property and kill conventional or organic crops, causing serious economic damage in rural communities.

Dow, however, claims to have developed a 2,4-D formulation that is less prone to drift. In its environmental review, the USDA said that a "stewardship agreement" requiring the use of the new formulation has put some farmers' fears to rest. The USDA also claims that, if the Enlist technology is not made available to fight herbicide-resistant weeds, farmers may return to more aggressive tillage practices that can cause soil erosion and other forms of environmental damage.

The USDA has proposed several alternatives to approving the 2,4-D-resistant soy and corn, but approving all the seed varieties is currently the agency's "preferred" option. The public has six weeks to comment on the proposal.

By: Mike Ludwig | Report | Truth Out |

Mike Ludwig is a Truthout reporter

Teresa W (782)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 9:19 am

Ben O (135)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 9:20 am
Holy crap!!!

Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 9:21 am

I would strongly suggest that people read the article and get on the phone to their Senators, House Representatives and the USDA. The last sentence in the article is a link for comments to the USDA, we need to be loud, but not overly emotional. Get your facts in order and make some calls, it wouldn't hurt to write letters to all involved and to your local newspapers.

Ruth Ann W (198)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 9:35 am
Holy Moley. What is going on now? Stop this insanity!

Carrie B (306)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 11:33 am
I feel like I have been, and continue to live in the "twilight zone". This is madness!

Athena F (131)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 1:36 pm

Please make your voices heard NOW, No Frankenfood!

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 1:49 pm
Yopu REALLY REALLY need to do something about you shit&drug Department there! and soon!

Athena F (131)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 1:58 pm
Ugh, it says comment period is over. I hope that's not right. Please call or write USDA, Senate and House directly!

pam w (139)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 2:02 pm

Terry King (113)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 2:23 pm
As long as the GMO industry is allowed to pump 274 million dollars a year into our political system, they will be allowed to pump all the poison they please into our air, soil, and water. Our only hope to salvage our seed and fish stocks is grass roots support for an outright ban on all GMO products.
"Political contributions reported by Food and Water Watch"

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 3:06 pm
THEY WANT you infertile, dead,- realise it!

Deb E (63)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 3:24 pm
The USDA is not concerned about the risk to people. Honest. When they put out their call for public comments they are asking for only comments about "plant pest risks". Everyone must make their comments geared to the fact that putting more chemicals out will cause plant pest risks to increase, as was proven by the tolerance developed by weeds to the use of glyphosate. We do not want anything to develop a tolerance to 2,4D. This is the USDA, not the FDA, so this only applies to plant pest risks. They won't even look at comments about anything else. But, I agree 100% with everyone needing to call and write to all legislators about this. This chemical use has to be stopped.

Judith C (159)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 3:34 pm

Barbara K (61)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 3:36 pm
Geez, I cannot believe they are that stupid. My neighbor's son died from cancer caused by the Agent Orange at 22 years old, after being in Viet Nam.

mar l ene dinkins (264)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 4:08 pm
noted ty

Rose Becke (141)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 4:25 pm

. (0)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 4:31 pm
That's not good! The USDA shouldn't be doing stuff like that. Thanks for sharing, Kit.

Bridget Robertson (106)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 5:03 pm
Once again I am reminded that Monsanto is really about selling chemicals. Yes, they will have huge control of food if this keeps up. There goal is not about feeding anyone. It's always about the sale of chemicals.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 5:05 pm
So..............what herbicide SHOULD farmers use?? Resistance will occur eventually with anything that's used extensively. Build a better herbicide and you build a better weed. Don't plant resistant crops and you've got no crops. Don't use any herbicide and you've got no crops.

Terry King (113)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 5:15 pm
Barbara... Your statement is incorrect. With proper farming techniques herbicides and pesticides are unnecessary.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 5:16 pm
Again with the headlines...*Agent Orange*....*GMO*
2 4-D is in just about every herbicide on the market ~ including what you bought at Home Depot for those dandelions ~ and has been since 1940.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 5:43 pm

I don't use them. I do pull weeds. Terry is correct.

Terry King (113)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 7:00 pm
Barbara... You are free to ingest whatever poison you choose for whatever reason you choose. Poisoning the world is a choice being made for expediency not necessity. I have been buying "certified organic" or raising my own food for decades... No poison needed.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 7:06 pm
While everyone needs to keep pushing for labelling and ultimately a ban on GMO's, we need to do more to educate and encourage the general public to choose the food that is already labeled i.e. organic food. Industrially farmed food that isn't GMO isn't really that much safer than GMO...we need to demand greater access to organic food for all and to motivate the public to choose the organic label.

Ganaisha Calvin (7)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 10:25 pm
wow what's next

Ondine J (134)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 11:08 pm
Noted and very scared, I too buy organic and chose not to add more chemicals into the environment, as Terry says no poison needed.

Ingo Schreiner (8)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 12:49 am

John De Avalon (36)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 2:04 am
Total madness ...

Sylvie A (190)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 3:14 am
Notée. Merci.

. (0)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 9:49 am
What's wrong with this picture? Everything.

Sheila D (194)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 10:47 am
Democratic MN Representative Collin Peterson is on the Ag commitee, usually voting more GOP than Liberal. Have no idea what he'll do/say about GMOs as his emails say he'll take my views into consideration when far he's 1 in 5 for my views. Will call and give msg but really don't hold out hope for his vote.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 3:40 pm
Noted & posted

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 6:32 pm

Leanne B (46)
Friday January 10, 2014, 12:36 am

Wolfgang W (228)
Friday January 10, 2014, 1:33 pm
the freedom to choose your own sickness is what is discussed here

Craig Pittman (52)
Friday January 10, 2014, 5:25 pm
More and more countries will not permit imports containing GMO. If the bottom line is all about profits then perhaps when there is nowhere at all to export them they will no longer be grown.

Kathleen R (192)
Saturday January 11, 2014, 11:02 am
Thanks Kit. I would have never know about this. Good grief.

Alice C (1797)
Sunday January 12, 2014, 12:41 pm
My mother was a farm girl and warned me about this in the 1990's.
She told me to save seeds !

Michela M (3964)
Tuesday January 14, 2014, 1:46 pm


IT'S TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Michela M (3964)
Tuesday January 14, 2014, 2:25 pm

Thanks!!! Posted in:  ORANGUTANS: Men of the Forest
in:  HEALTHY Eating: 99 Petitions - New!!
Please Join & Invite friends to Join
ORANGUTANS: Men of the Forest
together with Sumatran Tigers (Java & Bali Tigers already EXTINCT), Elephants, Rhinos, Clouded Leopards, Sun Bears, Wildlife, Biodiversity they face Extinction!! Only 300 Sumatran Tigers left on Earth!!! 300 Football Fields of Rainforests are CLEARED every hour in SE Asia to produce Palm Oil: a hidden, not labelled, unhealthy ingredient in the products we buy. We MUST do WHATEVER is possible to SAVE them all!!
AGAINST: Corporate Control, Deforestation, Illegal Logging, Global Warming, Pollution, CO2Emissions, Indigenous Peoples Displacement, Pet Trade, Bushmeat Trade, GMO Food, Vivisection, Bee-killing Pesticides… Also other Primates, as Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Gibbons, & Monkeys for Vivisection are dealt in this Group. Petitions/Info/Videos/Pics are here.
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Muriel Servaege (53)
Tuesday January 14, 2014, 3:05 pm
Horrendous. Maybe, farmers 'd better inquire on the way people used to grow vegetables not so long ago. I still have pictures that bear witness to what people did. They were tired at the end of the day, but so much happier. And they didn't have problems with GMOs.

Daniel Partlow (179)
Wednesday January 15, 2014, 7:27 am
I don't think we have enough knowledge to mess with what God has created. Who knows what GMOs are doing to us all!

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 15, 2014, 7:31 am
Try hand-weeding a 50 acre cornfield ~ and that's just one of your fields.
I'm not talking about your personal garden plot, I'm talking about people trying to feed 8 billion people.

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 13, 2014, 2:40 pm
Sometimes I believe the earth became a huge lab and we're the test rabbits on it... :-(
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