We are writing to urge you to reject applications for a new generation of genetically engineered crops designed to survive repeated spraying of the herbicide 2,4-D.
Simply put, these herbicide-resistant seeds are a bad idea. Allowing them on the market will drive up use of an antiquated, dangerous herbicide that is associated with serious health harms. 2,4-D has been linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption.
The dramatic rise in glyphosate use in conjunction with Roundup Ready crops tells us that widespread planting of 2,4-D corn and soybeans will inevitably lead to a surge in the application of these hazardous herbicides.
Since 2,4-D is known to drift — directly and through volatilization — increased use poses a very real threat to rural economies and farmers growing crops not engineered to withstand application of these potent chemicals. Conventional farmers could lose crops, while organic farmers could lose both crops and certification, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities.
2,4-D-resistant crops follow the same short-sighted approach to farming taken by Monsanto's Roundup Ready seed line. The Roundup Ready seed line is responsible for a dramatic rise in glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” that have afflicted millions of acres of farmland across the Midwest and South. Please don't make the same mistake in approving a new generation of herbicide-resistant crops that will lead to more superweeds, placing even more burden on farmers.
We urge USDA to reject Dow’s petition for approval of its 2,4-D-resistant seeds, and we call on your Agency to instead devote more attention to research and development of safe and smart 21st century ecological approaches to weed management. These approaches can protect public health, conserve the environment and assure sustainable crop production by America’s farmers for generations to come.
Organic Consumers Association
Remember Agent Orange? The 2,4-D chemical concoction commissioned by the U.S. Army to defoliate jungles and destroy food crops during the Vietnam War?
U.S. corn and soybean farmers could soon be using more of this toxic herbicide than ever before. Unless we convince the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to put the brakes on plans to approve Dow AgroSciences' new "Enlist" brand corn and soy—GMO crops designed to resist massive doses of 2,4-D herbicide.
Please sign our petition to the USDA asking them to reject "Agent Orange" crops!
A large body of evidence indicates major health problems result from exposure to 2,4-D, including cancer, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity and auto-immune disorders. And 2,4-D is devastating to the environment. It's currently the seventh largest source of dioxin pollution in the US and Dow is the second largest dioxin polluter.
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) concedes that Dow's new 2,4-D-resistant crops could speed up the evolution of new "superweeds" which would ultimately require even heavier applications of ever-more toxic herbicides, and could also have "off-target" effects.
Still, the agency signaled (on January 3, 2014), in the release of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), that it favors approving the new GMO crops.
Most corn and soy grown in the U.S. is already genetically engineered to resist Monsanto's Roundup. And 2,4-D is already the third most popular herbicide (according to the industry web site) used in the U.S.
But if the USDA approves the new 2,4-D-resistant corn and soy, the use of 2,4-D is projected to increase 50-fold.
For the chemical companies, the whole point of genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops is to increase herbicide use. If the crop isn't genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicides, farmers have to be careful to spray only the weeds. Currently, the use of 2,4-D is largely limited to controlling weeds in the fields before the crop sprouts, or after the crop is harvested. Genetically engineered 2,4-D-tolerant crops allow for the indiscriminate use of the herbicide.
For consumers, that means that the herbicides that used to be sprayed on the fields where our food was grown will now be sprayed directly on our food.
The USDA has already received more than 450,000 comments opposing Agent Orange crops, but so far it is ignoring public comment.
Things are no better at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist, heads up food safety. Ignoring the demands of the American Medical Association, which wants the FDA to require "mandatory pre-market systematic safety assessments" of new genetically engineered foods, the FDA conducts no review, as long as the biotech company assures it that the genetically engineered food is not "materially different" from normal food.
In December, Dow announced that the FDA had given its 2,4-D-resistant crops the rubber stamp, marking the end of the voluntary consultation process for its Agent Orange crops.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a separate review of Agent Orange crops to examine the impact of expanded use of 2,4-D. But in 2012, the FDA rejected a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council citing dozens of studies linking 2,4-D exposure to cancer and birth defects as cause to ban the dangerous chemical.
Please take action today to stop new 2,4-D-resistant genetically engineered crops!