It is no secret that I don’t like my food being any genetically modified organism (GMO), also called genetically engineered crops and many less flattering names. They are often touted as being environmentally more friendly for farming than conventional seed. I would beg to differ and here is a glaring example of why.
The latest outrage is brought to you from Dow AgroSciences who has been pushing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval of a new herbicide resistant corn seed that has been genetically modified to be immune to 2,4-D. Now, 2,4-D is an ingredient that was used in Agent Orange, the infamous herbicide that was liberally sprayed over large portions of Vietnam to kill jungle trees and other plants. It was, of course, also sprayed on Vietnamese people and US soldiers. Soldiers were not given any protective gear when being exposed and were told by the US Army that it was safe. We know now how much of a lie that was.
OK, that is Agent Orange. But, why is Agent Orange corn a bad idea?
It is environmentally a disaster waiting to happen. The new corn has been genetically modified to be immune to a new herbicide made from 2,4-D and glyphosate. Glyphosate, by the way, is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide RoundUp. There is already a GMO corn that is immune to RoundUp, or what they call “RoundUp ready.” These types of seed/plant modifications allow much more of the given herbicide to be sprayed than for conventional corn.
Largely due to the increased spraying of RoundUp, new “monster” weeds have evolved that themselves are resistant to RoundUp. Tons of RoundUp in the environment is bad enough, but now agribusiness has had to develop a new, more toxic, herbicide and the corn it can be sprayed on. Hence, Agent Orange corn. Now, if the new seed is approved, tons of the new herbicide will be sprayed. Isn’t that sweet.
This will lead to “super monster” weeds immune to the Agent Orange herbicide, new and more toxic herbicides will need to be developed along with new corn seed that can handle it. Anyone see a vicious circle here? I see environmental catastrophe.
And what about health? Thirty-five scientists, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals wrote, in a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture asking USDA to deny the petition from Dow AgroSciences to deregulate its genetically engineered (GE), 2,4-D-resistant corn, the following:
Dozens of studies in humans have reported associations between exposure to 2,4-D and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphocytes (white blood cells). This finding is consistent with other studies finding that 2,4-D increases lymphocyte replication in exposed farm workers, and that 2,4-D formulations are cytotoxic and mutagenic.
Dozens of animal studies show that 2,4-D exhibits hormone-disrupting activity. 2,4-D also affects the function of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Interference with hormones and neurotransmitters can cause serious and lasting effects during fetal and infant development, including birth defects, neurological damage, and interference with reproductive function. Human studies support the results of the animal studies.
Just say no to GMO!
Tags: 2 4-D, agent orange, Dow AgroSciences, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, GE, genetically engineered, genetically engineered crop, genetically modified organism, glyphosate.Monsanto, GMO, herbicide, monster weed, Roundup, sustainable, sustainable agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, weed