Dow Chemical is seeking USDA approval for a genetically engineered (GE) version of corn that is resistant to 2,4-D, a herbicide that was used in the formulation of the highly toxic defoliant Agent Orange. Agent Orange (half 2,4-D by composition) was extensively used in Vietnam by the military to destroy forests and crops.
Dow’s Christmas gift for America was formally announced, by the USDA, in the December 27, 2011 edition of the Federal Register. If the federal government wants to bury something in the news, and burn up part of our window to publicly respond, you can bet they’ll do it around the holidays. The public has 60 days to comment on Dow’s petition for deregulation, and can do so online at:
Weeds are increasingly adapting to Monsanto’s genetically engineered line of crops that rely on the use of a different herbicide, glyphosate, which Monsanto markets as Round-up®. This is leading competitors, like Dow, and proponents of GE agriculture to look for weed killing alternatives. Herbicides more toxic than Round-up® appear to be next up in the pipeline.
2,4-D, a systemic herbicide, is used on many types of broadleaf weeds. It is a chlorinated phenoxy compound that has caused serious eye and skin irritation among agricultural workers. According to information compiled by Cornell University, rats fed 2,4-D produced “fetuses with abdominal cavity bleeding and increased mortality.” And 2,4-D may cause infertility, birth defects, organ toxicity and neurological effects.
As Dow’s GE corn is resistant to the herbicide, it is possible that the plant may absorb 2,4-D residues into its structure, and then transfer those chemicals, or their related metabolites, to livestock and humans consuming corn or milk, meat and eggs produced from the GE crop.
The USDA also just announced the proposed approval for a new strain of drought resistant corn, and a soybean, Soymega™, both from Monsanto. The Obama White House appears to be giving Monsanto and Dow, and other biotechnology corporations, everything they want while the public, according to polls, is overwhelmingly concerned about genetic engineering and losing control of our diets.
On the campaign trail in 2007, the President said that genetically modified foods should be labeled because Americans “should know what they are buying.” When he appointed former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary, he selected someone who became quite popular in agricultural circles after being named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Obama has also appointed two pro-GMO agrochemical company lobbyists to powerful positions in his administration. Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist, became food czar at the Food and Drug Administration. Islam Siddiqui, a lifelong pesticide lobbyist and GMO advocate, was appointed Chief Agricultural Negotiator. These appointments reveal the tight grip that Monsanto and other biotech corporations have on elected officials, and therefore our policies.