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Organic Consumers Association

Is the USDA Really Dumb Enough To Approve Agent Orange Corn?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

The Obama administration announced last week that it expects to approve corn and soybeans that have been genetically engineered by Dow Chemical company to tolerate the toxic herbicide - 2,4-D. They are planning this approval despite the fact that use of this herbicide is associated with increased rates of deadly immune system cancers, Parkinson's disease, endocrine disruption, birth defects, and many other serious kinds of illness and reproductive problems.

Weed ecologists are unanimous in warning that approval of these crops will lead to vast increases in the use of this poisonous chemical. Researchers at Penn State say that in soybeans alone, planting of crops resistant to 2,4-D would increase the amount of 2,4-D sprayed on American fields to 100 million pounds per year - four times the current level. The researchers predict a cascade of negative environmental impacts, and add that the increasing use of the herbicide would actually worsen the epidemic of superweeds it is intended to address, by causing weeds to become resistant to multiple herbicides.

A coalition of 144 farming, fishery, environmental and public health groups have asked the USDA not to approve the 2,4-D resistant crops. Citing studies that predict dire consequences to both human and environmental health, they add the concern among farmers that 2,4-D would drift onto their property and kill their crops, causing serious economic damage in rural communities.

But you have a chance to prevent this from happening. We have now entered a 45 day period during which the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comments.     


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