Agent Orange Corn?

Alternet
Published on Alternet (http://www.alternet.org)

FOODS_AO-CORN ‘Agent Orange Corn’: Biotech Companies Are Waging a Chemical Arms Race on Our Food Supply    —  Food Revolution Network [1] / By John Robbins [2]

Agent Orange Corn‘: Biotech Companies Are Waging a Chemical Arms Race on Our Food Supply
January 16, 2014  |

The Obama administration announced [3] 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 [4] 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 [5] 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 [6] 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.

The biotech industry continually reassures [7] public officials and the public that genetically engineered foods reduce the amount of pesticides applied to our crops. Is this claim scientifically valid? Or is it just a myth propagated for PR purposes?

A recent study, conducted at Washington State University, provides a conclusive answer. The study was authored by agronomist Charles Benbrook, a former executive director of the National Academy of Sciences. Using official US Department of Agriculture data, he and his team of researchers looked at the effect on pesticide use of the first 13 years (from 1996 to 2008) of GM crop cultivation in the United States. (Read Full Article)

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