Act to Halt Approval of Agent Orange Resistant Corn

Act to Halt Approval of Agent Orange Resistant Corn

This is a Facebook event - but please print this out and distribute widely. Public comments can be posted with the USDA until February 27. Please act now. The link for public comments is -;rpp=10;po=0;s=APHIS-2010-0103


The purpose of this event is to increase the number of public comments sent to the USDA to oppose approval of this proposal by Dow Chemical Corporation. Given the trend at the USDA, it will take more than merely public comments top prevent this outrage, but this is the essential first step - to make certain the will of the people is in the public record.

Weeds surrounding RoundUp resistant corn have become resistant themselves, and are proliferating. Dow Chemical offers an alternative - genetically modified corn that is resistant to the old herbicides long known as toxic and cancer-causing. In order to be free of weeds, the fields will be saturated with a cocktail of old and new toxins. "There is substantive evidence that 2,4 –D and its contaminant dioxins are implicated in soft tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After Sweden banned the herbicide in the early 1970s the incidence of two cancers declined..."

It will take a massive public outcry to block the new genocidal proposal that Dow Chemical Corporation has placed on the desk of the USDA. They have developed a new strain of corn that is resistant to 2,4 D - the active ingredient in Agent Orange, a chemical weapon that caused widespread illness and disability during the Vietnam war.

Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farms, said, “The science is clear on the problems with 2,4-D. It has been implicated in health problems and birth defects in hundreds of thousands of Vietnam War veterans and Vietnamese people.”

Mark Kastel from Cornucopia said, "the approval of (a major food crop) resistant to 2,4-D will cause an exponential increase in the use of this toxic agrichemical,” comparing it to Monsanto's GMO corn that has become resistant to its Roundup herbicide—and which has led to the evolution of superweeds that grow up to three inches per day.

It will take a tremendous public outcry to make a difference in the approval of the Dow GMO, which will encourage widespread use of the active ingredient in Agent Orange. You can see that Monsanto's recent request passed easily despite 45,000 comments opposing it. Scientific writing and an organization letterhead are a big help. Lend a hand (your writing hand) and your credibility to this absolutely necessary effort.




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So wrong its offensive

Ok, to begin with I'd like to say I have been an Illinois farmer for the better part of my adult life and have planted and harvested thousands of acres of corn and soybeans. So I know what I am talking about when I talk about herbicides. And this article is the most inaccurate and misleading thing I have ever seen on this website.

Lets start with what Agent Orange actually is. Agent Orange is a 50/50 mixture of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T that has been diluted with water. The cancer and birth defects often associated with Agent Orange was due to the 2,4,5-T being contaminated with a toxin called 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). This contamination was due to the manufacturing methods used in the production of 2,4,5-T.

2,4-D was not "the" active ingredient in Agent Orange. It was one of the active ingredients and its also been proven that it did not cause the cancer and birth defects associated with Agent Orange use in Vietnam.

Another fun fact: Dow Chemical is not producing a 2,4-D resistant variety of corn. Care to take a guess as to why? It's because corn, which is a type of grass, is NATURALLY RESISTANT to 2,4-D! 2,4-D is a plant growth hormone that effects broad-leaf plants, and corn is not a broad-leaf plant. They are, however, working on a type of soybean that is resistant to 2,4-D. But I guess whoever wrote the article couldn't be bothered to catch that huge glaring fact.

2,4-D was created in 1946 and has been used heavily as a commercial and agricultural herbicide ever since. Ever sprayed your lawn with Weed-B-Gone? Guess what, you sprayed your lawn with 2,4-D! Almost every product aviailable at your local lawn and garden center that is used to control weeds in your lawn has 2,4-D in it. It's safe and its been used for decades by millions of people all over the world.

Next time take a few minutes and get your facts right.

Next Time -- Get Some Facts

Hmm, that's interesting. You've got a very selective set of facts there. There is little doubt that 2,4-D is a problematic chemical, so acting like it's the safest thing next to pure water is hardly credible or supported by the facts. Here's a useful link:

As they note with extensive references to the scientific literature, it's not benign stuff. It's wide use is largely due to the incessant promotion of chemical companies and their capacity to checkmate effective regulatory regimes with campaign cash to compliant politicians.

I've got a little personal experience with the stuff from farming myself. My cousin's the one with the most experience. he's been disabled for most of his adult life after becoming increasingly ill as a young adult. he was the one who spent a significant part of the summer spraying that stuff on fencerows and getting soaked by the backspray, etc. It was the 60s and my relatives ran the farm with an attitude like yours -- heck, they spray that stuff in Vietnam, so it must be safe!

From the citation above:

"Some medical reports from practitioners who have treated victims of acute exposure to 2,4-D mention severe and sometimes long lasting or even permanent symptoms. These include, as well as those listed above, diarrhoea, temporary loss of vision, respiratory tract irritation, confusion, numbness and tingling, bleeding and chemical hypersensitivity..."

My cousin has been in and out of hospitals and doctors for years. They thought it was everything from MS to ALS to chronic fatigue. They still aren't sure what it is and, I think, are in a state of denial about the situation. What's done is done.

The most disturbing thing about the info is what is still not known about 2,4-D. Sure, they're not producing it with the dioxin contamination any more, but that doesn't mean it's safe. In fact, there seems to be a rather purposeful ignorance being cultivated about this widely used product. See comment above about bought off politicians for why that is.

The problem with your argument is that you're asserting it's safe, despite having no empirical evidence that is the case. Faith is bad science and that's all you got with your claim. So yeah, bring on the facts.

The facts are on the table - the main fact is GREED

"Ok, to begin with I'd like to say I have been an Illinois farmer for the better part of my adult life and have planted and harvested thousands of acres of corn and soybeans. So I know what I am talking about when I talk about herbicides."

What you know is that you no longer have to till the soil, and the work that you do pays your bills. It doesn't sound like you know a damn thing about herbicides except they make your life easier in the short run, and pay your bills.

By the way, Dow is not yet marketing this particular Franken-corn, but the POINT is that they are asking for a USDA ruling to clear the way. They have also demonstrated 2,4 D resistant soybeans.

Although the cancer claims are contentious because so much money is thrown around to influence laboratory studies or shut them down, it was clear in every one that 2,4 D and related copounds produced lesions on the liver - this whole series of chemicals is hapatoxic and neurotoxic, each of the cancer studies mentions this as a side note - Lou Gehrigs Disease and "golfer's liver" are other possible outcomes.

It is lazy, and it is lethal, and I won't be eating your corn or any animals raised with your feed corn, neither will millions of Americans who are similarly informed. It's your greed and laziness vs. my life. I enjoy living and intend to improve the health of this planet rather than poison it.

As a side note, your corn is banned in Europe, and I can produce studies that explain exactly why.

David Roknich

Facts are good, find me some.

"They still aren't sure what it is and, I think, are in a state of denial about the situation."

I'm sorry that your cousin is in poor health. But by your own admission there is no evidence that 2,4-D caused his illness. I know it can be tempting to blame the nearest big corporation for all of life's pitfalls, but you're grasping at straws. I too spent my childhood summers spraying fence rows with 2,4-D. I still do to this day. The fact is millions of farmers have been using 2,4-D for decades without ill effects.

The culprit guilty of causing people harm is the dioxin TCDD, not 2,4-D. The two have nothing to do with each other. The studies that "prove" a link between 2,4-D and cancer include dioxin contaminates, which is scientifically irresponsible. They also don't mention the concentrations of 2,4-D used. Anything at a high enough concentration can cause cancer.

Farmers already use 2,4-D on corn, they have for years. Thats because corn is resistant to 2,4-D. All Dow is doing is taking that natural resistance and making it more potent.

Here is the long and short of it: 2,4-D is a plant growth hormone. It is not Agent Orange. It was not responsible for cancer and birth defects in Vietnam. It has never been proven to cause ill health effects at the concentrations commonly used. What it does do is increase yields of corn, wheat, and other food crops and helps us feed the world.

That being said 2,4-D can easily be harmful if its misused. If its sprayed directly into your eyes or mouth you are going to have a hell of a bad day. So use some care and common sense and it won't be a problem.

Again I'm sorry you have a relative thats sick. And if you can produce hard evidence that 2,4-D is to blame then there is something to your point of view. But so far all I'm seeing is misleading scare tactics using bad memories of a stupid war, a lot of junk science, and people that want to hide their hatred of corporations behind fake public health concerns.

Ignorance is not bliss.

"Farmers already use 2,4-D on corn, they have for years. Thats because corn is resistant to 2,4-D. All Dow is doing is taking that natural resistance and making it more potent."

If this ignoramus is raising food, I will never be eating it.

David Roknich


please see the data that has been accumulated at the event -

Three Facts

Lack of evidence of harm is not proof of safety.

Anecdotal evidence is pretty much equal.
This is anecdotal evidence:
"...millions of farmers have been using 2,4-D for decades without ill effects."
So is this:
"I've got a little personal experience with the stuff from farming myself. My cousin's the one with the most experience. he's been disabled for most of his adult life after becoming increasingly ill as a young adult. he was the one who spent a significant part of the summer spraying that stuff on fencerows and getting soaked by the backspray, etc."
I think you missed my point on that one.

"fake public health concerns"
I think people can make up their own mind about that by reading the facts. There are plenty here:

It is simply false to claim that "The culprit guilty of causing people harm is the dioxin TCDD, not 2,4-D." Even without TCDD, 2,4-D is nasty stuff that is toxic, is an endocrine disruptor, and is recognized as potentially carcinogenic by some authorities. That may not count as harm in your book, but I think most reasonable people will differ with you.

True, 2,4-D is not the same thing as Agent Orange and the claim in the headline is dubious. But your point on that is largely a semantic one. 2,4-D is not the harmless substance you describe, either. In fact, the issue of endocrine disruption is one that is the most likely to provide solid evidence of harm in the short term. For a relatively balanced presentation on this and other health and ecological issues associated with 2,4-D, see:

Oh that is so cute!

"What you know is that you no longer have to till the soil"

Anyone who would make that statement has obviously never set foot on an actual farm. I guess that $40,000 field cultivator sitting in my shed is just for looks.

"Although the cancer claims are contentious because so much money is thrown around to influence laboratory studies or shut them down"

Translation - I can't find any actual hard science to back up my claims so I'm going to make a broad accusation of corruption and hope no one notices I have no proof of it.

"it is lethal"

Used by millions of people for 60+ years. Be realistic for a moment. I use 2,4-D in addition to numerous other chemicals every year. If 2,4-D really was harmful I wouldn't use it. Thats because I have no desire to poison myself. So either you are right and every farmer in America is suicidal. Or you're wrong and the chemical used for decades by millions of people actually is safe. Which is more likely?

"I won't be eating your corn or any animals raised with your feed corn"

While the odds of any one person eating one specific farmers produce is low I have to point out that farmers all over the country grow the exact same corn I do with the exact same chemicals. You've been eating our corn in one form or another your whole life.

"The facts are on the table - the main fact is GREED"

Your true motivations are revealed in your headline. This is all about hating people with more money (a.k.a. work harder) than you. You can't stand the fact that farmers, those people you would prefer to think of as poor, blue-collar laborers, are actually well-educated capitalists. We grow food and feed people, you write snarky internet columns and occupy parks. At the end of the day you know which one of us actually did something useful. And it just kills you.

"At the end of the day you

"At the end of the day you know which one of us actually did something useful. And it just kills you. "
How many people you've killed, and how long it takes are difficult numbers to obtain, and that's why you continue to get away with murder.

exactly the reason why there are so many home gardens, and people reviving the art of canning and the reason why France is on a program to reduce the use of chemical in commercial farming by 50% -
I'm lucky I grew up before the recent order-of-magnitude increase in the use of farm chemicals, and most of the produce I've eaten in my life has been from chemical free gardens - as close as possible to "chemical free" in fatally tainted Illinois.

sorry I didn't sign in this time, but I'm not anonymous, and I work 12 hours a day, on average.

David Roknich

fact - weed killer ofter replaces the tiller

I've seen this, and am not the only one.
"just spray em with roundup"
stupid, greed.

If it doesn't completely replace the tiller, it greatly reduces the amount of real tilling.

don't eat the corn - or the ham either, folks.

Tillage truth

Reducing the amount of tilling is a good thing. And here are some reasons why:

1. When you plow fields you are damaging the soil. Turning up soil introduces more oxygen which accelrates the breakdown of organic matter which, in turn, lowers soil fertility.

2. When you plow a field you expose weed seeds to sunlight which causes them to start growing and actually increases the number of weeds.

3. The more you till a field the looser the soil is and the more it will be depleted by wind and water erosion.

Tillage during crop growth is bad for the field, which is why farmers strive to find ways to avoid it.

Treating Earth Like Dirt

Maybe the problem is industrial agriculture itself? If plowing damages the soil, then the damage is done when you break the first row. I suggest that tillage has its place, but it's not a good excuse to use mass quantities of chemicals in its stead.

More timely stuff:
While our radar screens are focused on global warming, peak oil, and biodiversity loss, David Montgomery says we may be missing what he calls the "most basic environmental change sweeping the planet"—soil loss. Conventional agriculture is eroding and degrading the earth's most productive soils at a rate that will ultimately "undermine civilization," he says, unless society rethinks the way it treats this absolutely fundamental resource.

© 2012 The Green Interview

It doesn't work that way

"I suggest that tillage has its place, but it's not a good excuse to use mass quantities of chemicals in its stead."

So you say tillage has its place and that chemicals are bad, but then you argue that soil loss might destroy society. So which is it?

"Maybe the problem is industrial agriculture itself?"

Ok, define "industrial agriculture". Is that any farm that uses machines? Is it based on farm size? Is it any farm thats non-organic?

Here is the problem with your argument. You want abundunt supplies of food, you want to save soil by reducing tillage, and you want to avoid chemicals of any kind. It can't be done. Not all three.

If you want to reduce soil loss you have to reduce tillage. The only way to do this without huge losses in crop yields is to use chemicals to control the weeds, fungi, and insects that attack crops. If you want a world with no chemicals and no tillage you have to accept a huge reduction in crop yields.

If the world went completely organic in its food production it could only support a population of around 4 billion people. Right now we are coming up on 7 billion. If you have a plan for a system of agriculture that requires no tillage and no chemicals and can feed a 7 billion+ population I'm more than willing to hear it.

When All You Have Is a Hammer...

Then everything looks like a nail.

Seriously, you're strawmanning things to a ridiculous extent. Are you just trolling?

Look, there are lots of ways to commit agriculture. You're telling us that only ONE way works -- maximizing profits through industrial scale corporate control of agriculture -- and that's just not so.

As for feeding all those people, yep, it is a problem, a strong case for support for universal availability of family planning, and an issue that goes far beyond ag and how to feed people to prevent destroying the only planet we have to live on.

Any hog knows that if you shit the bed enough, you eventually get up and move. Too bad so many of our farmers aren't as smart as a hog.

Real world vs. internet fantasy

Here is a basic concept your are missing. Farmers, according to you, only care about money. So lets go ahead and assume thats true. The way farmers maximize profit is by maximizing the crop yields on their land. In order to have maximum yields you need a healthy ecosystem that is conducive to supporting plant growth and development. Therefore it is in a farmers best financial interest to make sure the soil, water, and air (the ecosystem) on his farm is as healthy as possible.

Our greedy profit motive keeps the environment safe. And keep in mind we live in it. My house is 40 feet from one of my fields. Whatever I put on that field is literally in my own backyard. So not only do I have a profit motive to take care of the environment I have a personal safety motive too. 2,4-D and other chemicals isn't just an internet debate to me. I use those chemicals. I'm going to be the first one on the receiving end of any ill effects they may have. So needless to say I've done my homework.

"Too bad so many of our farmers aren't as smart as a hog."

Today's modern farmer has a college degree in agriculture and years of experience actually working in the real world of production agriculture. Our knowledge doesn't come from internet propaganda, it comes from the real world. So who's the dumb one here?

NRDC Petitioned EPA to Ban 2,4-D

Not exactly fresh, but news to some here -- apparently.

by Jennifer Sass

If you've used a pesticide on your lawn in the past 60 years, there's a good chance you've used 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (aka 2,4-D) - a carcinogen that was also one-half of the recipe for the infamous Agent Orange.

2,4-D is a herbicide in the phenoxy chemical family, used at about 46 million pounds annually in the U.S. - about 30 million pounds in agriculture and 16 million pounds for non-agriculture uses like lawns.

NRDC today petitioned the EPA to ban 2,4-D, the most commonly used active ingredient in "home and garden" pesticides. 2,4-D is also one of the oldest pesticides still legal for use. Even though safer and more effective pesticides are available - 2,4-D is often more affordable.

2,4-D is an endocrine disruptor with predicted human health risks ( ranging from changes in estrogen and testosterone levels, thyroid problems, prostate cancer and reproductive abnormalities. It's also neurotoxin linked in animal studies to side effects like brain cell death, Parkinson's-like tremors, delays in brain development and abnormal behavior patterns.

Pregnant women and children are most susceptible to these potential effects.

At home, 2,4-D is used to control aquatic weeds in water where people may swim, on athletic fields, golf courses and playgrounds. It's also used agriculturally - sprayed on our food supply, including pasture land, wheat, corn, soybeans, barley, rice, oats and sugar cane.

It shows up in about half of all surface water samples nationwide, and the groundwater of at least five states and Canada. Once tracked indoors - such as from the bottom of a shoe - 2,4-D can stay in your carpet for up to a year. And if you're enjoying a beer or a glass of wine on that carpet - take extra caution. The chemical is absorbed by your body more easily if you're consuming alcohol, wearing sunscreen or using DEET. Infants can take in the chemical through breast milk.

In short - 2,4-D is everywhere, and it's dangerous, particularly for our children. The government has allowed this hazardous herbicide to stay on the market for far too long. In light of all the evidence of the numerous, varied health risks associated with this popular pesticide, the EPA has a responsibility to protect human health and environmental integrity by banning highly hazardous old-school chemicals like 2,4-D.

Real science hard at work

The contribution of 2,4-D Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in helping farmers to feed the world has been revolutionary. In 2004, the Henry Ford Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting visionary leaders and organizations on the frontlines of social change, listed 2,4-D as one of the 75 most important innovations of modern times. The combination of its effectiveness in controlling yield-destroying weeds, along with favorable human health and environmental profiles, has made this one of the most trusted and effective tools for modern agriculture.

2,4-D is a member of the phenoxy family of herbicides originally introduced in 1946. It provides broad-spectrum control of many annual, biennial and perennial broadleaf weeds which compete with crops and threaten yields. Since its introduction, it has become an important tool controlling these weeds in key crops ranging from corn and wheat to asparagus and stone fruits.

2,4-D is perhaps the most extensively researched and studied crop protection tool used in agriculture. Today, the product is authorized for use by regulators charged with the protection of public health and our environment in about 70 countries worldwide, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and Japan. In the last 20 years, 2,4-D has undergone as many as 26 major regulatory and expert scientific panel reviews worldwide, all concluding that 2,4-D does not present an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment when used properly.

The following is intended to provide a general overview of the mammalian and environmental toxicology profiles of 2,4-D based on the wealth of reviews and scientific studies which have been conducted.


Based on reviews from regulatory agencies (including extensive reviews conducted by the U.S. EPA and Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency as recently as 2005 and 2008, respectively) and the scientific literature, potential exposure from labeled uses of 2,4-D are thousands of times less than levels that would pose a risk to human health.

Toxicity testing indicates 2,4-D:
Is not carcinogenic in comprehensive animal tests. New Study: A recent 2010 study by Weichenthal, et al., reviewed 28 published studies from the Agricultural Health Study examining the potential link between cancers and occupational exposures of 32 pesticides. For the cancer evaluations where 2,4-D was included (pancreatic, colon, rectal, childhood), there was no positive association to 2,4-D found.

Does not result in genetic damage that might cause cancer.
Is not an endocrine disruptor; it does not mimic or block hormones which disrupt the body’s normal functions.
Is not a developmental toxicant; it does not cause adverse effects on a developing child.
Does not adversely affect reproduction.
Has only a low to moderate acute toxicity when exposed to the concentrated material.

Human Exposure

Research has consistently shown exposures to 2,4-D are low, even for those working directly with 2,4-D. The exposures are well below those identified by regulatory agencies as posing any risk to human health.

Environmental Fate

2,4-D does not persist in the environment. 2,4-D has a favorable environmental profile, and its exposures are expected to be minimal in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. It is rapidly broken down by microbial action in the soil and does not persist, accumulate or leach to groundwater under conditions of proper use.
In field studies conducted across the U.S. under actual use conditions, 2,4-D: Had an average soil half-life of only five days with a range of less than two to about 13 days.
Although not strongly absorbed by soil, 95 percent or more of the residues were limited to only the top six inches of soil, and the maximum depth any residues were found was only 24 inches.

In grass and thatch, the average half-lives were less than seven days.
In natural water, the half-life is one to two weeks, and in treated rice paddy conditions, the half-life is as short as one day.

Ecological Health

Exposures of wildlife to 2,4-D, whether through direct contact or consumption of treated vegetation, has been shown to be of low toxicological concern. Studies have shown 2,4-D is:
Practically non-toxic to both freshwater and estuarine/marine fish, amphibians (frogs).
Only slightly toxic to aquatic invertebrates.
Practically non-toxic to honeybees and earthworms.

The use of 2,4-D to control undesirable vegetation and invasive plants has a positive contribution to wildlife by allowing growth of native plants and restoring the naturalhabitat. In aquatic systems, 2,4-D has been used to counter the intrusion by invasive vegetation which can choke off aquatic habitats and degrade water quality.

Want more information? A list of scientific resources can be found at

Regulatory Capture

What you're describing above is mostly about policy, not science. The EPA is a regulatory body, not a scientific one. The science is far more in dispute than is reflected in your citation.

As for a website sponsored by Dow? I think we all know the answer to the question of their objectivity on the matter.

Science is good, have some.

Except for one reference to the EPA my post was entirely science. But if you'd like some more try the following studies. For convenience sake they are organized by type of study (toxicology, environmental impact, etc.).

Animal Health Studies:

•Barnekow, D.E. et al., Metabolism of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid in Laying Hens and Lactating Goats. J. Agric. and Food Chem. Vol. 49 (1): 156-163, 2001. (Abstract only)
•Barnekow, D.E. et al., Uniformly 14C-Ring-Labeled 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid: A Metabolism Study in Bluegill Sunfish, Lepmis Macrochirus. J. Agric. and Food Chem. Vol. 49, No. 6: 2853-2859, 2001. (Abstract only)
•Carlo, G.L. et al., Review of a Study Reporting an Association Between 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid and Canine Malignant Lymphoma: Report of an Expert Panel. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 16:3, 245-252, 1992. (Abstract only)
•Charles, J.M. et al., Chronic Dietary Toxcicity/Oncogenicity Studies on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid in Rodents. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, 33, 166- 172 (1996).
•Charles, J.M. et al., Comparative Subchronic and Chronic Dietary Toxicity Studies on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, Amine and Ester in the Dog. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, 29, 78-85 (1996).
•Charles, J.M. et al., Comparative Subchronic Studies on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, Amine and Ester in Rats. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, 33, 161-165, 1996.
•Charles, J.M. et al., Developmental Toxicity Studies in Rats and Rabbits on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid and its Forms. Toxicological Sciences, 60, 121-131, 2001.
•Gavazza, A. et al., Association Between Canine Malignant Lymphoma, Living in Industrial Area, and Use of Chemicals by Dog Owners. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 15:3, 190-195, 2001. (Abstract only)
•Mattsson, J.L. et al., Single-Dose and Chronic Dietary Neurotoxicity Screening Studies on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid in Rats. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, 40, 111-119, 1997.
•Timchalk, C., Comparative Inter-Species Pharmacokinetics of Phenoxyacetic Acid Herbicides and Related Organic Acids. Evidence that the Dog is not a Relevant Species for Evaluation of Human Health Risk. Toxicology, 200 (2004) 1-19.
•Van Ravenzwaay, B. et al., Comparative Metabolism of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D) in Rat and Dog. Xenobiotica, 33:8, 805-821, 2003.

Toxicology Studies:

•Acquavella, J. et al., Cancer among Farmers: a Meta-Analysis. Annals of Epidemiology, 8:64-74, 1998. (Abstract only)
•Bus, J.S. and Hammond, L.E., Regulatory Progress, Toxicology, and Public Concerns with 2,4-D: Where do we Stand after Two Decades? Crop Protection 26 (2007) 266-269.
•Cantor, K.P. et al., Pesticides and Other Agricultural Risk Factors for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma among Men in Iowa and Minnesota. Cancer Res 1992; 52: 2447-55 (see also Cantor, KP et al. letter to the editor, Cancer Res 1993; 53: 2421) (Abstract only)
•Carmichael, N.G. et al., Agricultural Chemical Safety Assessment: A Multisector Approach to the Modernization of Human Safety Requirements. Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 36:1–7, 2006.
•Charles, J.M. et al., Ames Assays and Unscheduled DNA Synthesis Assays on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid and its Derivatives. Mutation Research 444 (1999): 207-216.
•Charles, J.M. et al., Chronic Dietary Toxcicity/Oncogenicity Studies on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid in Rodents. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, Vol.33 166- 172 (1996).
•Charles, J.M. et al., Comparative Subchronic and Chronic Dietary Toxicity Studies on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, Amine and Ester in the Dog. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, Vol. 29, Number 1:78-85 (1996).
•Charles, J.M. et al., Developmental Toxicity Studies in Rats and Rabbits on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid and its Forms. Toxicological Sciences, 60, 121-131, 2001.
•Charles, J.M. et al., In Vivo Micronucleus Assays on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid and its Derivatives. Mutation Research 444 (1999) 227-234. 1999.
•Cooper, R.L. et al., A Tiered Approach to Life Stages Testing for Agricultural Chemical Safety Assessment. Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 36:69–98, 2006.
•De Roos, A.J. et al., Integrative Assessment of Multiple Pesticides as Risk Factors for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Among Men. Occup Environ Med. 2003;60e11.
•Dost, F.N., Toxicology and Potential Health Risk of Chemicals that May Be Encountered by Workers Using Forest Vegetation Management Options - Part III, Risk to Workers Using 2,4-D Formulations. Forest Practices Branch, BC Ministry of Forests, 2003.
•Feldmann, R.J. and Maibach, H.I., Percutaneous Penetration of Some Pesticides and Herbicides in Man. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 28, 126-132 (1974).
•Garabrant, D.H. and Philbert, M.A., Review of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D) Epidemiology and Toxicology. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 32(4):233-257, 2002. (Abstract only)
•Gold, L.S., et al., Misconcptions About the Causes of Cancer. Human and Environmental Risk Assessment: Theory and Practice. D. Paustenbch, ed., New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 1415-1460 (2002).
•Gollapudi, B.B. et al., Evaluation of the Genotoxicity of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid and its Derivatives in Mammalian Cell Cultures. Mutation Research 444 (1999) 217-225.
•Gorzinski, S.J. et al., Acute, Pharmacokinetic, and Subchronic Toxicological Studies of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology 9, 423-435 (1987).
•Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Re-evaluation Decision (2,4-Dichlorophenoxy)acetic Acid [2,4-D]. RVD2008-11, 2008.
•Kennepohl, E. and Munro, I.C., Chapter 72 Phenoxy Herbicides (2.4-D). Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology, Vol 2, Chapter 72.6. Agents and Toxic Actions. Academic Press, New York, NY:1623-1638, 2001. (Abstract only)
•Mattsson, J.L. et al., Single-Dose and Chronic Dietary Neurotoxicity Screening Studies on 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid in Rats. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, 40, 111-119, 1997. (Abstract only)
•Munro, I.C. et al., A Comprehensive, Integrated Review and Evaluation of the Scientific Evidence Relating to the Safety of the Herbicide 2,4-D. J. Amer. Coll. Toxicol. Vol. 11, No. 5: 559-664, 1992.
•Ritter, L. et al., Report of a Panel on the Relationship between Public Exposure to Pesticides and Cancer, for the Ad Hoc Panel on Pesticides and Cancer. National Cancer Institute of Canada, Cancer, 80(10):2019-33, 1997.
•Ross, R.H. et al., Dermal absorption of 2,4-D: A Review of Species Differences. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 41 (2005) 82-91.
•Safe, Stephen H., Environmental and Dietary Estrogens and Human Health: Is there a Problem? Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol 103 No. 4: 346-351, 1995.
•Sauerhoff, M.W. et al., The Fate of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D) Following Oral Administration to Man. Toxicology, 8 (1977) 3-11.
•Timchalk, C., Comparative Inter-Species Pharmacokinetics of Phenoxyacetic Acid Herbicides and Related Organic Acids - Evidence that the Dog is Not a Relevant Species for Evaluation of Human Health Risk. Toxicology 200 (2004) 1-19.
•U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Reregistration Eligibility Decision for 2,4-D. Office of Pesticide Programs. EPA 738-R-05-002, 2005.
•Van Ravenzwaay, B. et al., Comparative Metabolism of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D) in Rat and Dog. Xenobiotica, August 2003, Vol. 33, No. 8, 805-821.
•WHO Pesticide Residues in Food – 1996. Part II - Toxicological Evaluations. FAO Plant Production and Protection Paper 140: 31-38; and WHO/PCS/97.1: 45-96.

Epidemiology Studies:

•Acquavella, J. et al., Cancer Among Farmers: A Meta-Analysis. Annals of Epidemiology, 8:64-74, 1998. (Abstract only) (This study will also be listed under Toxicology)
•Alavanja, M.C.R. et al., Pesticides and Lung Cancer Risk in the Agricultural Health Study Cohort. American J. Epidemiology. 160: 876-885, 2004.
•Alexander, B.H. et al., Biomonitoring of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid Exposure and Dose in Farm Families. Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume 115, No. 3: 370-376 (2007).
•Boyle C.A. and Brann, E.A., The Selected Cancers Cooperative Study Group. Proxy Respondents and the Validity of Occupational and Other Exposure Data. AM J Epidemiology 136 (6):712-21 (1992). (Abstract only)
•Burns, C.B. et al., Mortality in Chemical Workers Potentially Exposed to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D) 1945-94: An Update. Occu. Environ. Med., 58:24-30, 2001. (Abstract only)
•De Roos, A.J. et al., Integrative Assessment of Multiple Pesticides as Risk Factors for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Among Men. Occup Environ Med. 60(9): p. E1. National Cancer Institute, 2003.
•Dost, F.N. Toxicology and Potential Health Risk of Chemicals that May be Encountered by Workers using Forest Vegetation Management Options - Part III, Risk to Workers Using 2,4-D Formulations. Forest Practices Branch, BC Ministry of Forests, 2003.
•Firestone, Jordan A. et al., Occupational Factors and Risk of Parkinson's Disease: A Population Based Case-Control Study. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 53:217-223 (2010).
•Fleming, L. et al., Cancer Incidence in a Cohort of Licensed Pesticide Applicators in Florida. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 41, No. 4, 1999. (Abstract only) (This study will also be listed under Toxicology)
•Fleming, L. et al., Mortality in a Cohort of Licensed Pesticide Applicators in Florida. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 56:14-21, 1999. (Abstract only)
•Garabrant, D.H. and Philbert, M.A., Review of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D) Epidemiology and Toxicology. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 32(4):233-257, 2002. (Abstract only) (This study will also be listed under Toxicology)
•Harris, S.A. et al., Exposure of homeowners and Bystanders to 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D). Journal of Environmental Science and Health, B27(1) 23-38, 1992. (Abstract Only)
•Hartge, P. et al., Residential Herbicide Use and Risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Cancer Epidemiol Biomakers Prev; 14(4), 934-937, 2005. (Abstract only)
•Hoar, S.K. et al., Agricultural Herbicide Use and Risk of Lymphoma and Soft-tissue Sarcoma. JAMA, 256(9):1141-7, 1986. (Abstract only)
•Johnson, R.A. et al., Data on Prior Pesticide Use Collected from Self- and Proxy Respondents. Epidemiology, 4:157-64, 1993. (Abstract only)
•Kogevinas, M. et al., Cancer Mortality in Workers Exposed to Phenoxy Herbicides, Chlorophenols, and Dioxins - An Expanded and Updated International Cohort Study. Am. J. Epidemiol. (1997) 145 (12): 1061-1075. (Abstract only)
•Olsen, G.W. and Bodner, K.M., The Effect of the Type of Respondent on Risk Estimates of Pesticide Exposure in a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Case-Control Study. J. of Agromedicine, Vol 3(1) 1996: 37-50. (Abstract only)
•Ritter, L. et al., Report of a Panel on the Relationship between Public Exposure to Pesticides and Cancer, for the Ad Hoc Panel on Pesticides and Cancer. National Cancer Institute of Canada. Cancer, 80(10):2019-33, 1997.
•Thomas, K.W. et al., Urinary Biomarker, Dermal, and Air Measurement Results for 2,4-D and Chlorpyrifos Farm Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study. J. of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (2009), 1-16.
•Whitford, F. et al., Pesticides and Epidemiology: Unraveling Disease Patterns, Report No. PPP-43. Purdue University Pesticide Programs, 1998.
•Zahm, S.H., Mortality Study of Pesticide Applicators and Other Employees of a Lawn Care Service Company. J. Occup. Env. Med., 39(11): 1055-1067 (1997). (Abstract only)

Environmental Studies:

•Brown, J.N. et al., Herbicide Spray Drift Odor: Measurement and Toxicological Significance. Arch. Environ. Contam. & Toxicol, 38, 390-397, 2000.
•Gandhi, R. et al., Critical Evaluation of Cancer Risk from 2,4-D. Rev Environmental Contamination Toxicology, 167: 1-33, 2000.
•Grover, R. et al., Factors Affecting the Exposure of Ground-rig Applicators to 2,4-Dimethylamine Salt. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 15, 677-686 (1986).
•Hamburg, A. et al., Comparative Degradation of [14C]-2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid in Wheat and Potato after Foliar Application and in Wheat, Radish, Lettuce, and Apple after Soil Application. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2001, 49, 146-155.
•Lavy, T.L. et al., (2,4-Dichlorophenoxy)acetic Acid Exposure Received by Aerial Application Crews During Forest Spray Operations. J. Agric. Food Chem., Vol. 30, No. 2, 375-381, 1982.
•Safe, Stephen H., Environmental and Dietary Estrogens and Human Health: Is there a Problem? Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol 103 No. 4: 346-351, 1995.
•Smith, A.E., A.J. Aubin and V.O Biederbeck. Effects of Long-term 2,4-D and MCPA Field Applications on Soil Residues and their Rates of Breakdown. Journal of Environmental Quality. Vol. 18:299-302. 1989.
•Wilson, R.D. and Armbruster, J.A. The Dispersion and Dissipation of 2,4-D Concentrations when used for Typical Aquatic Applications, 2007.
•Wilson, R.D. et al., 2,4-D Dissipation in Field Soils after Application of 2,4-D Dimethylamine Salt and 2,4-D 2-Ethylhexyl Ester. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 16, No. 6, pp. 1239- 1246, 1997.
•World Health Organization. Pesticide Residues in Food - 1998. Evaluations Part I - Residues Volume I. FAO Plant Production and Protection Paper 152/1: 179-312, 1998.

It all adds up to one thing: 2,4-D, when used properly, is safe. If you want to protest modern agriculture thats your right and your business. Just don't lie about it by hiding behind fake public health issues.

Pure As Mom's Milk?

Maybe if she's drinking from an uncontaminated aquifer. It is rather amazing how much defensive science that Dow and other chemical companies finance. It's a practice that Dow has a lot of experience with:

Yes, it's about silicone breast implants. But does anyone really think that Dow is any more forthcoming about the herbicide they produce or that their PR dept. doesn't engage in pretty much the same practices with regard to 2,4-D?

Of course, being supervised by the EPA is supposed to give us all warm and fuzzies? Yeah, this government has quite the record on closely supervising contractors, which is how the whole Agent Orange thing got started. But what the heck, we're all just guinea pigs for government and Big Biz anyway, right?

Now, Dow is just one part of a much larger problem, but you've done little to allay concerns with your unwavering shilling for Dow. Of _course_ we should trust Dow. After all, Bill Clinton does:

At least Al Gore _seems_ to be on the right side of the Dow issue, as you can keep up with all the Dow news sludge here:

Shame on anyone for suggesting that Dow doesn't play by the rules or that it might do something illegal. unethical or immoral and it has such a fine, upstanding record or standing behind people when it makes mistakes:

I think it would be great if someone did spend the time to go through your list of "real science" and analyze where the funding that supported it came from, because people do have to wonder about such greenwashing these days:

So, when things get really obvious, people start catching on to being spoon-fed BS or 2,4-D and having it called "safe":

One even has to ask if your presence here, obviously selling Dow PR, is just one more day on a nasty, but well paid job for you?:

It's obvious Dow is spending big bucks pushing 2,4-D right now, in coordination with Monsanto, because Monsanto's Round-up Ready corn is now failing. The only thing more I'd like to know about you is whether you're being paid a commission or are you on salary?

Maybe people just need The Truth about Dow?:

Scientists Warn of Low-Dose Risks of Chemical Exposure

A new study finds that even low doses of hormone-disrupting chemicals — used in everything from plastics to pesticides – can have serious effects on human health. These findings, the researchers say, point to the need for basic changes in how chemical safety testing is conducted.
by Elizabeth Grossman

Since before the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring 50 years ago, scientists have known that certain synthetic chemicals can interfere with the hormones that regulate the body’s most vital systems. Evidence of the health impacts of so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals grew from the 1960s to the 1990s. With the 1996 publication of Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and J. Peterson Myers, many people heard for the first time how such exposures — from industrial pollution, pesticides, and contact with finished consumer products, such as plastics — were affecting people and wildlife. Since then public concern about these impacts has grown.

In 2009, the American Medical Association called for reduced exposure to endocrine- disrupting chemicals. Last year, eight scientific societies, representing some 40,000 researchers, urged federal regulators to incorporate the latest research on endocrine-disrupters into chemical safety testing.

Last week, 12 scientists – including such experts as Colborn and the University of Missouri’s Frederick vom Saal — published a paper ( that they say significantly advances the debate. Their research, based on a review of 800 scientific studies, concludes that it is “remarkably common” for very small amounts of hormone-disrupting chemicals to have profound, adverse effects on human health. Hormone-disrupting chemicals, the paper explains, challenge a fundamental tenet of toxicology — “the dose makes the poison” — which contends that the greater the dose, the greater the effect. Hormone-disrupting chemicals don’t necessarily behave like this. Significant health effects, the researchers say, sometimes occur at low rather than high doses.

"Whether low doses of endocrine-disrupting compounds influence human disorders is no longer conjecture, as epidemiological studies show that environmental exposures are associated with human diseases and disabilities,” the paper’s authors write. The study, published in the journal Endocrine Reviews, maintains that the low-dose and special dose-response effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals means that “fundamental changes in chemical testing and safety determination are needed to protect human health."

The study’s lead author, Laura Vandenberg, a post-doctoral associate at Tufts University’s Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, said in an interview said that this low-dose and special dose-response behavior “should be expected of any chemical that acts like a hormone."

Not all experts in biology and toxicology agree with the study’s conclusions. Some scientists in academia, industry, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said there is not yet convincing proof that extremely low doses of endocrine-disrupting chemicals have ill health effects or consistently produce low-dose effects that are not predicted by their effects at higher doses.

"There’s no question that both natural and synthetic compounds can mimic hormones,” said George Gray, director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at The George Washington University. But that a chemical produces effects at one level, no effects at another, and different effects at yet another level of exposure, “that’s not yet widely accepted in toxicology,” said Gray. “It’s something toxicologists are not yet convinced of and comfortable with,” he added.

Hundreds of such hormone-disrupting chemicals have now been identified, and exposure to these compounds is virtually ubiquitous. Among the chemicals the new paper discusses are bisphenol A, used in plastics, can liners, and receipt papers; common pesticides, including atrazine and chlorpyrifos; methyl paraben, a preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products; triclosan, an antibacterial agent used in soaps and toothpaste; nonylphenol, a detergent ingredient; the flame retardant PBDE-99; perchlorate, a fuel compound; and dioxin, an industrial and incineration by-product. The paper also cites DDT and PCBs — discontinued but very environmentally persistent compounds.

"This is the first time anyone’s tried to synthesize this whole field and show that this is not a single chemical issue,” Vandenberg said of the new study.

Very small amounts of hormones, including endocrine system hormones — those that regulate many of the body’s most important systems, among them development, metabolism, and reproduction — can have significant biological effects. So, it’s been discovered, can synthetic compounds with similar chemical compositions. Research indicates that exposure to a small amount of such a chemical at a particular stage of development can prompt effects that can impact not just that particular individual, but, in some cases, several generations.

"It’s not just sex hormones but also thyroid hormones, and insulin among others, that are involved,” said Vandenberg. “We’re really complicated instruments."

The health effects documented in the studies the paper reviews have been observed in live animal and cell culture studies and in human epidemiological studies. Their effects include adverse impacts on reproductive and sexual development and fertility; cognition and neurological systems; immune system function; and metabolic effects, including diabetes and obesity. “The weight of the available evidence suggests that EDCs (endocrine-disrupting chemicals) affect a wide range of human health endpoints that manifest at different stages of life, from neonatal and infant periods to the aging adult,” write the authors.

Hormones interact with cellular receptors like locks and keys, explained Vandenberg. The hormone or hormone-like chemical is the key, and the receptor, the lock. “Touch the receptor and it starts to produce a response,” said Vandenberg. Too much chemical stimulus (the wrong-size key), however, can overwhelm the receptor, causing it to shut down and produce no response.

A key concept of the paper is that endocrine-disrupting chemicals are non-monotonic, meaning that the responses of animals or people to the chemicals do not necessarily intensify or diminish based on the dose. To illustrate this concept, Vandenberg said, “Picture a line of people, where those on the left have no exposure and those on the right have the most exposure. For endocrine-disrupting chemicals, where the greatest effects occur may not follow that line of increasing exposure level from left to right."

While complex and challenging, the studies gathered in this paper demonstrate that this phenomenon is now well documented, say the authors. “I hope that this paper opens the door to the realization that the endocrine system is the overarching control system of all other body systems,” said Theo Colborn, president of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange (, whose work has been instrumental in popularizing knowledge of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. “It controls how we develop, function, and reproduce from the moment we are conceived — in other words, the quality of our lives and our existence."

While epidemiological studies show environmental exposure to EDCs are associated with human diseases, linking a specific environmental chemical exposure to an individual’s health disorder remains difficult, particularly given the many variables that contribute to health outcomes — life stage, genetics, and other environmental factors.

"There are different susceptibilities in different populations that may cause very minute amounts of a hormone to prompt effects in some people but not others,” said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, who was one of the paper’s reviewers. This literature, she said, points to the importance of investigating low doses and timing of exposure when assessing chemicals for endocrine and other hormonal health outcomes, she explained in an interview.

Some scientists think more research is needed to confirm how endocrine disrupting chemicals behave. L. Earl Gray, Jr., a research biologist at the EPA’s Reproductive Toxicology Branch, said these low-dose effects are “certainly biologically plausible.” But he questioned whether there is sufficient evidence to firmly establish the non-monotonic responses of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), which represents chemical manufacturers, issued a statement saying that it “has committed substantial resources” to better understanding the potential effects of chemicals on the endocrine system, and cited a Michigan State University professor emeritus of toxicology who concluded that “low-dose effects have not been proven, and therefore should not be applied to real-world conditions and human exposures.”

To verify these effects, studies must prove the mechanism of these responses and be replicable, said Lorenz Rhomberg, principal at the Gradient Corporation, a private environmental and risk analysis consultancy. “In my experience that’s been lacking,” said Rhomberg, co-author of an ACC-funded study that found low doses of BPA to be without adverse human reproductive and developmental health effects.

But, said Vandenberg, that’s exactly what the new paper shows. “We don't just know that these effects occur, we know how they occur,” she said, noting that for some chemicals like BPA, non-monotonic responses are reported by dozens of labs.

Thomas Zoeller, a University of Massachusetts biologist and paper co-author, said that regulatory testing of chemicals for endocrine-disrupting impacts lags behind the growing evidence of the compounds’ health effects, particularly at levels to which people are routinely exposed. “There is a very large disconnect between regulatory toxicology and the modern science of endocrinology that is defining these issues,” said Zoeller.

How much will testing chemicals at low, environmentally relevant levels improve human health, the paper authors ask? While it’s not currently possible to quantify in dollars, current evidence “linking low-dose EDC exposures to a myriad of health problems, diseases, and disorders suggests that the costs of current low-dose exposures are likely to be substantial,” they conclude.

"People can easily get overwhelmed by this issue,” said Laura Vandenberg. “But from a public health perspective, we can’t see this problem as too big to deal with. We wouldn’t do that with any other medical problem.”

© 2012 Yale Environment 360

Elizabeth Grossman is the author of Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, and other books. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Salon, The Washington Post, The Nation, Mother Jones, Grist, and other publications. In an earlier article for Yale e360, she reported on how radioactive contamination from the crippled Fukushima plant could affect marine life off the Japanese coast.

EPA Rejects Petition to Ban 2,4-D, Paves Way Widespread Use

by Common Dreams staff

The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition to ban the sale of the 2,4-D herbicide, a major ingredient in the Vietnam-era defoliant 'Agent Orange'. Despite its current widespread availability, use of 2,4-D could skyrocket soon because its main manufacturer, Dow Chemical, is hoping to receive approval to sell genetically modified corn seeds that are resistant to 2,4-D.

The decision from the EPA came in response to a lawsuit from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in January of this year, who filed the suit after the EPA refused to respond to a petition the environmental group first submitted in 2008.

“This dangerous herbicide is lurking all over the place – from ball fields and golf courses, to front lawns and farms – exposing an enormous amount of the American public to cancer and other serious health risks,” NRDC senior scientist Dr. Gina Solomon said, during the announcement of the move in January. “There’s no reason to continue allowing a toxic Agent Orange-ingredient in the places our children play, our families live and our farmers work. EPA must step up and finally put a stop to it.”

The EPA's decision on Monday, however, rejected the idea that 2,4-D was a health or "safety" threat, and even pointed to a Dow Chemical conducted study to support their decision.

The Center for Food Safety, who worked alongside NRDC to push the ban, expressed deep concern for the increased use of 2,4-D if Dow's new corn seeds are approved. “Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ corn will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use—and our exposure to this toxic herbicide—yet USDA has not assessed how much, nor analyzed the serious harm to human health, the environment or neighboring farms,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “This novel corn will foster resistant weeds that require more toxic herbicides to kill, followed by more resistance and more herbicides—a chemical arms race in which the only winners are herbicide/biotechnology firms.”

* * *

The New York Times reports:

[NRDC] cited various studies suggesting that exposure to 2,4-D could cause cancer, hormone disruption, genetic mutations and neurotoxicity. It also said the E.P.A., in previous assessments, had underestimated how much people, especially children, might be exposed to the chemical through dust, breast milk and skin contact.

In its ruling, the E.P.A. said that while some studies cited suggested that high doses of the chemical could be harmful, they did not establish lack of safety, and in some cases they were contradicted by other studies.

The agency in particular cited a study, financed by the 2,4-D manufacturers and conducted by Dow, in which the chemical was put into the feed of rats. The study did not show reproductive problems in the rats or problems in their offspring that might be expected if 2,4-D were disrupting hormone activity, the E.P.A. said.

* * *

Center for Food Safety: The Danger of 'Agent Orange' Corn

If approved, millions of acres of “Agent Orange” corn could be planted as early as next year, raising concern for its adverse health impacts. 2,4-D was one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant used by the U.S. in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemical compounds, which are responsible for a host of serious medical conditions—from diabetes to cancer to birth defects—in Vietnam veterans as well as Vietnamese and their children. Industry’s own tests show that 2,4-D is still contaminated with dioxins.

“Many studies show that 2,4 D exposure is associated with various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, nerve damage, hormone disruption and birth defects,” said Dr. Amy Dean, an internal medicine physician and president-elect of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. “Because it poses significant health risk, exposure should not be increased, but significantly reduced to protect the public’s health.”

2,4-D drift and runoff also pose serious risk for environmental harm. Because it is such a potent plant-killer, 2,4-D can harm animals by killing the plants they depend on for habitat and food. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries Service have found that 2,4-D is likely having adverse impacts on several endangered species, even now. 2,4-D is currently used to control weeds primarily in cereal grains and lawns. Its use in corn has been extremely limited. USDA’s approval of 2,4-D resistant GE corn will increase the overall use of this toxic herbicide, worsening these impacts and likely placing many other species at risk.

American farmers are also rightly concerned that the introduction of 2,4-D resistant corn will threaten their crops: 2,4-D drift is responsible for more episodes of crop injury than any other herbicide. “In my experience, 2,4-D is an herbicide that can and does drift considerable distances to damage neighboring crops,” said Indiana farmer Troy Roush. “We can expect greatly increased use of 2,4-D with Dow’s new corn, and that could wreak havoc with soybeans, tomatoes and other crops my neighbors and I grow.”

The advent of Dow’s 2,4-D resistant corn is a clear indication that first-generation genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant crops—Monsanto’s Roundup Ready (RR) varieties—are rapidly failing. RR crops, which comprise 84 percent of world biotech plantings, have triggered massive use of glyphosate (Roundup’s active ingredient) and an epidemic of glyphosate-resistant weeds. These resistant “superweeds” are regarded as one of the major challenges facing American agriculture.

# # #

Is 'America Revealed'--or PBS?

April 23, 2012
5:37 PM

CONTACT: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
Steve Rendall
Tel: 212-633-6700 x13
Is 'America Revealed'--or PBS?
Dow-sponsored public TV series tracks Dow's product lines

NEW YORK - April 23 - The four-part series America Revealed, airing on PBS stations this month, looks at big-picture economic issues, from agriculture to transportation to manufacturing. The series underwriter? The Dow Chemical Company, whose commercial interests closely track the subjects covered in the PBS series.

The first episode (4/11/12) focused on large-scale agriculture, which is one of the industries in which Dow is a major player. The program featured an extended look at the corn industry, including efforts to control pests. As the program explained, the food industry "needed a game changer" in that fight. And it got one: The "genetically modified organism, better known as a GMO."

This positively portrayed "game changer" just happens to be the very type of product Dow sells. Indeed, Dow is among a handful of companies that dominate the genetic seed market (Pesticide Action Network, 8/10 The company has recently been trying to win approval for a new genetically modified corn that has been nicknamed "Agent Orange" for its resistance to a highly toxic herbicide. Dow's application is opposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Food Safety because of its toxicity, and the likelihood that it will simply create even more resistant weeds (EcoWatch, 4/10/12

The problem with the Dow series is broader. On the company's website (, Dow breaks down its interests into four categories: Agricultural, Infrastructure/Transportation, Energy and Consumer/Lifestyle.

The PBS series Dow is funding addresses food and agriculture in the first episode. The second episode, which aired last week, is titled "Nation on the Move"--a look at transportation. The third episode is "Electric Nation," and the final installment will deal with American manufacturing.

In other words, Dow's interests are all over the Dow-funded public TV series.

Under PBS's underwriting guidelines (, this show should never have been allowed with this sponsor. Over the years, however, PBS has shown a remarkable willingness to allow certain funding arrangements--usually when the funders were large corporations (FAIR Press Release, 4/3/02 The network outlines three tests that "are applied to every proposed funding arrangement in order to determine its acceptability":

Editorial Control Test: Has the underwriter exercised editorial control? Could it?
Perception Test: Might the public perceive that the underwriter has exercised editorial control?
Commercialism Test: Might the public conclude the program is on PBS principally because it promotes the underwriter’s prod­ucts, services or other business interests?

Without knowing anything about the matter of editorial control, it would seem clear that America Revealed has problems with the perception and commercialism tests. As the PBS guidelines state of the perception test:

When there exists a clear and direct connection between the interests or products or services of a proposed funder and the subject matter of the program, the proposed funding will be deemed unacceptable regardless of the funder's actual compliance with the editorial control provisions of this policy.

On its commercialism test, PBS explains:

The policy is intended to prohibit any funding arrangement where the primary emphasis of the program is on products or services that are identical or similar to those of the underwriter.

On paper, PBS would seem to take these matters quite seriously:

Should a significant number of reasonable viewers conclude that PBS has sold its professionalism and independence to its program funders, whether or not their conclusions are justified, then the entire program service of public television will be suspect and the goal of serving the public will be unachievable.

If PBS believes that conflicts of interests are indeed that important, then why is it airing a Dow-funded series about Dow's business interests?

Ask PBS to explain why Dow Chemical Company is permitted to fund a series about issues closely linked to Dow's business.

PBS Ombud
Michael Getler

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.

Making Chemical Giants Happy at Our Expense

by Jim Hightower

Thanks to the blessings of nature and good farmers, you and I can enjoy such scrumptious delights as fresh corn-on-the-cob, popcorn and many other variations of this truly great grain. And now, thanks to Dow Chemical and federal regulators, we can look forward to "Agent Orange Corn." The chemical giant is in line to gain approval for putting a genetically altered corn seed on the market that will produce corn plants that won't die when doused with high levels of 2,4-D.

This potent pesticide was an ingredient in Dow's notorious Agent Orange defoliant, which did such extensive and horrific damage to soldiers and civilians in the Vietnam War. However, the corporation and the feds claim that 2,4-D was not the deadliest ingredient of the killer defoliant and has not yet been proven to cause cancer in humans, so they're pressing ahead to let this corporate-constructed seed be planted across America.

Dow now sells 2,4-D to help kill various weeds, but the herbicide is so strong that it also kills nature's own version of corn plants. Thus, Dow's genetic engineers went into the corporate lab and manufactured a new corn that's immune to the weed-killer. This would let the chemical maker profit from selling the patented seed, plus enjoying a huge increase in sales of its 2,4-D herbicide. How happy for Dow! Not so happy, though, for consumers worried about the untested long-term health consequences of the altered corn and the carcinogenic possibilities of ingesting more 2,4- D. Also, when sprayed, this herbicide can vaporize and spread for miles, killing crops that are not immune, poisoning the surrounding environment, and endangering the health of farmers and townspeople throughout the area.

Dow is hardly alone in pursuing its happiness at the expense of others. Indeed, rather than finding ways to cooperate with the natural world, America's agribusiness giants generally reach for the quick, high-tech fix in a futile effort to overpower nature.

Their attitude is that if brute force isn't working, they're probably not using enough of it.

Monsanto, for example, has banked a fortune by selling a corn seed that it genetically manipulated to produce corn plants that won't die when sprayed with a toxic weed-killer called "Roundup." Not coincidentally, Monsanto also happens to be the maker of Roundup, so it has profited from the seed and from the surge in Roundup sales that the seed generated.

But Mother Nature, damn her, has rebelled. So much of Monsanto's poison was spread across America in the past decade that weeds naturally and rather rapidly developed a resistance to it. As a Dow Chemical agronomist put it, "The real need here is to diversify our weed management systems." Exactly right! We need non-chemical, non-GMO, sustainable systems that work with nature.

But, no, the Dow man didn't mean that at all. He was calling for more brute force in the form of his corporation's altered corn seed — the one that can withstand being doused with Dow's super-potent 2,4-D weedkiller. Use this, he promises, and this time nature will surely be defeated.

Wrong. Nature doesn't quit. The weeds will keep evolving and will adapt to Dow's high-tech fix, too. By pushing the same old thing relentlessly, says an independent crop scientist, agribusiness interests "ratchet up (America's) dependence on the use of herbicides, which is very much a treadmill." So much unhappiness for so many just to make one corporation happy by getting much richer at our expense.

It's time to start listening to the weeds — and cooperating with Mother Nature. To advance this common sense approach, a national coalition is backing a California "Right to Know" initiative requiring GMO-altered foods to be labeled. To help, visit the Organic Consumers Association ( and get involved in the coalition's Money Bomb Monsanto Campaign (

© 2012 Creators Syndicate

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Approval of New GMOs Likely to Prompt Pesticide Escalation

by Jill Richardson

A decade and a half after farmers began planting the first genetically engineered (GE) crops, the future is clear. The scientists who pioneered genetic engineering thought of themselves as environmentalists, creating products that could reduce pesticide use. Instead, they have simply perpetuated the same "pesticide treadmill" as their pesticide-peddling counterparts resulting in the application of a greater volume of ever more toxic pesticides.

The "pesticide treadmill" occurs when insects "become resistant to the effects of pesticides, requiring farms to adopt new and more potent poisons, to which pests eventually become resistant." DDT was greeted as a war hero when it was used to combat malarial mosquitoes in World War II, but only a few years after it was introduced in agriculture, the pests evolved resistance. Farmers needed a new pesticide, perhaps a more toxic pesticide. For decades that followed, chemical companies introduced pesticide after pesticide, so farmers had no shortage of poisons. If one fails, use another. Never mind the myriad of other options available to prevent or combat pest problems, like attracting or releasing beneficial organisms that eat the pests or simply fostering healthy soil so your plants are healthy enough to defend themselves.

GMOs -- genetically modified organisms -- have now gone down the same path. In the early years of genetic engineering, biotech companies tried creating a number of products with different traits, like a tomato that stays ripe or a variety of canola that produced a different kind of oil. But only two types of GMOs really took off commercially -- Roundup Ready crops and Bt crops. Roundup Ready crops are engineered so they can survive being sprayed by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. A farmer can spray an entire field with Roundup herbicide, killing only the weeds. Bt crops produce an insecticidal protein derived from a naturally occurring soil bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), in every cell of the plant. Biotech giants like Monsanto create, patent, and sell the seeds for these two types of GMOs.

But after less than two decades on the market, these crops have also joined the pesticide treadmill as pests have begun to develop resistance to them.
Pesticide-Producing Crops Starting to Cause Mutant, Resistant Pests

The insecticidal proteins naturally produced by Bt are used in organic farming, bu there is a big difference between an organic farmer spraying Bt on crops (the Bt breaks down quickly) and a genetically engineered crop constantly producing Bt in every cell of the organism. With the incredible growth of Bt crops, from none in the mid-1990s to 67 percent of U.S. corn and 77 percent of U.S. cotton by 2012, Americans’ exposure to Bt has risen dramatically. A 2010 study found Bt in 93 percent and 80 percent of maternal and fetal blood samples, respectively. And, as organic farming comprises a tiny percent of farming overall, there’s no doubt that the Bt in their blood mostly, if not entirely, came from genetically engineered foods like Bt corn.

Although humans are now exposed to more Bt than ever, some argue that one Bt crop, Bt cotton, represents a success because conventional cotton depends so heavily on pesticides that are far more toxic than Bt. In theory, by relying on Bt to kill pests, farmers could reduce or eliminate use of more toxic and persistent pesticides. This was not born out by the facts, however: As adoption of Bt cotton increased in the United States, applications of most pesticides declined -- but applications of aldicarb, one of the most concerning pesticides, actually grew. (Aldicarb is so toxic that it is already banned in the European Union and the United States will not allow its use after 2018.)

As a result of increased aldicarb usage, between 1996 and 2008, the amount of pesticides sprayed on each acre of cotton in the U.S. dropped only from 0.56 pounds per acre to 0.47 pounds per acre, even as farmers adopted Bt cotton. And that does not even take into account the pesticides used as seed treatments on cotton seeds during that time.

But, as of this year, there is more news. Insects have begun to evolve resistance to Bt. It began in 2011, when scientists identified Bt resistant corn rootworms in a few fields in Illinois and Iowa. In 2012, even more disturbing reports emerged of Bt resistant bollworms in cotton. A team of University of Arizona scientists looked into the matter and found a number of genetic mutations that provided the bugs with Bt resistance. The problem of these resistant "super pests" is still small, but growing. No doubt the biotech industry will ramp up the arms race against these pests in the coming years. The only questions that remain are: how toxic will their next products be, and will they produce such widespread Bt-resistant pests that it will render Bt a useless tool for organic farmers as well as conventional?
Roundup Ready Crops Caused Massive Increase in Glyphosate Use

While Bt crops are just now stepping on the pesticide treadmill, Roundup Ready crops have been pounding away on it for years now. When they were introduced, Roundup Ready crops resulted in a massive increase in the use of Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides. In the decade after the first Roundup Ready crop was introduced, Roundup Ready soybeans, U.S. farmers increased the amount of glyphosate used on soybeans by a factor of six. The increase occurred for two reasons: first, because farmers shifted away from other herbicides and used glyphosate instead and second, because weeds soon evolved resistance to small amounts of glyphosate, forcing farmers to use more and more of it each year.

The "environmentally friendly" argument for GMOs only applies if you buy the idea that glyphosate is an "environmentally friendly" and "safe" herbicide, as Monsanto claims. Never mind the 2010 study that found that low doses of glyphosate cause birth defects in frogs and chickens -- and the revelation that Monsanto was aware of Roundup’s link to birth defects for decades.

Roundup Ready crops allowed Monsanto to capture enormous shares of both the seed market and the herbicide market for four crops: soybeans, cotton, corn, and canola. Since corn and soy together make up half of America’s cropland, this represents no small amount of money.

Some farmers adopted Roundup Ready crops eagerly, and others did so more reluctantly. Corn and soy farmer George Naylor complains that the best seeds are only made available as Roundup Ready, forcing farmers who want non-GMO seeds to buy inferior seeds as a result. Since the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans in 1996, adoption rates by farmers have soared. In 2012, 93 percent of all soybeans, 80 percent of all cotton, and 73 percent of all corn planted in the U.S. was "herbicide tolerant," – and most of that was Roundup Ready. (Some of the herbicide tolerant crops planted are tolerant of the herbicide glufosinate instead of glyphosate.)

More than a decade later, farmers are facing the predictable result of their actions: Roundup Ready "super weeds." As farmers happily sprayed their entire fields with Roundup again and again, more than 20 species of weeds evolved resistance to glyphosate. The big kahuna of these glyphosate resistant weeds is called palmer amaranth, a monster of a weed that grows seven feet tall and produces up to half a million seeds per plant. The weed can grow three inches a day and it’s "tough enough to damage farm machinery."
More Herbicide Resistant Crops on the Way

But where farmers see a crisis, the "Big 6" chemical companies see opportunity. They finally have a chance to break into Monsanto’s GMO empire by producing new herbicide tolerant crops designed to be used with their own herbicides. Already approved for use in the U.S. are Pioneer Hi-Bred’s corn and soybeans that are tolerant of acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibiting herbicides. But under review by the USDA right now are many, many more:

BASF’s imidazolinone tolerant soybean (access docket here)
Monsanto’s dicamba tolerant soybean (acess docket here)
Dow AgroScience’s 2,4-D and ACCase Inhibitor Tolerant corn and 2,4-D tolerant soybeans (access dockets here and here)
Bayer CropScience’s isoxaflutole and glyphosate tolerant soybean (access docket here)

Not surprisingly, BASF is one of the only manufacturers of imidazolinone herbicides in the U.S., Bayer is the only manufacturer of isoxaflutole, and, while a long list of smaller companies make 2,4-D, only two of the "Big 6" produce it – Monsanto and Dow. If the new GMO crops are approved and adopted by farmers, these companies will not only profit by selling their seeds, they will also make money from increased sales of their own herbicides.

The most concerning of these next generation GMOs are the ones designed to work with dicamba (a developmental or reproductive toxin), isoxaflutole (a carcinogen), and 2,4-D, which was one of the two chemicals that made up Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant the U.S. sprayed in Vietnam. The Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) is asking concerned citizens to weigh in on the registration of 2,4-D soy, but dicamba and isofloxatule are deadly chemicals that are receiving far less attention. Imagine a six-fold increase in the use of these chemicals over the next decade!

The old argument that Bt and Roundup Ready GMOs were environmentally friendly because they would reduce toxic pesticide use was a flimsy one at best, but it is now entirely dead in the water. It took less than two decades for bugs and weeds to evolve resistance to Bt and Roundup, respectively. The "Big 6" chemical and biotech companies are now showing their true colors, creating more products certain to increase pesticide usage in the global food supply.

© 2012 Center for Media & Democracy

Jill Richardson is the founder of the blog La Vida Locavore and a member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board. She is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It.

'Agent Orange Corn' One Step Closer to Approval

by Common Dreams staff

The genetically engineered product dubbed "Agent Orange corn" by its opponents may be closer to gaining EPA approval after a coalition of farmers dropped its opposition to the Dow product on Tuesday.

The farmer group, the Save Our Crops Coalition (SOCC --, had previously denounced 'Enlist,' a genetically modified crop able to withstand being sprayed with 2,4-D, one of the components of Agent Orange. But on Tuesday SOCC released a joint statement with Dow, stating that it had resolved its issues, and that "SOCC believes that commitments made by Dow AgroSciences represent substantial measures to mitigate potential non-target plant damage impacts from herbicide spray drift and volatilization associated with 2,4-D tolerant crops."

Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director at the Organic Consumers Association (, tells Common Dreams that "The Save Our Crops Coalition is narrowly focused on the economic interests of farmers whose crops could be injured by 2,4-D herbicide drift." She adds that "the other thing farmers in the SOCC don't have to worry about is 2,4-D becoming ineffective against weeds when the weeds acquire the genetically engineered trait that makes Dow's GMO crops 2,4-D tolerant. This problem will only hurt the farmers growing crops marketed as 2,4-D tolerant. They might work in the short-term, but as we've seen with the 'RoundUp Ready' and Bt crops, they are quick to pass on their engineered traits to pests."

The opponents of "Agent Orange corn" also highlight the potential impacts on human health and the environment. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch (, says there continues to be serious cause for concern.

"This agreement between Dow and the Save our Crops Coalition does nothing to mitigate the threats that this 2,4-D tolerant crop poses on human health and the environment and only further illustrates ironclad control that Big Agribusiness holds over our food system. Many studies prove that 2,4 D exposure is associated with various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, nerve damage, hormone disruption and birth defects and evidence is mounting that 2,4-D is quickly following in the disgraced footsteps of Monsanto's Roundup as giving rise to unkillable superweeds. The health of consumers, our soil and farm workers is once again left in the figurative and potentially literal dust," Hauter told Common Dreams.

Baden-Mayer echoes the concerns over human health. "If we continue to be exposed to ever increasing levels of 2,4-D in our food, we are going to suffer escalating rates of disease, especially cancer and birth defects," stated Baden-Mayer.

"2,4-D tolerant GMO crops haven't been safety tested for human consumption," added Baden-Mayer. "The FDA doesn't require that. They only conduct voluntary consultations with the manufacturers of GMOs on human health impacts. There's no independent review. So, we really have no idea what will happen when people start eating 2,4-D tolerant crops, and we probably never will. They'll enter the food supply unlabeled, primarily as animal feed and ingredients in junk foods. We're seeing an uptick in diet-related diseases, but it's impossible to identify the role of GMOs in that. The small amount of research we have on the body's reaction to GMOs is that they are perceived as foreign or toxic, triggering allergic reactions and immune responses or damaging the kidneys and liver."

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, previously warned ( of the dangers of the Dow’s "Agent Orange" corn, and noted how it sets up a "chemical arms race."

“This novel corn will foster resistant weeds that require more toxic pesticides to kill, followed by more resistance and more pesticides—a chemical arms race in which the only winners are pesticide/biotechnology firms.”

How GMOs Unleashed a Pesticide Gusher

by Tom Philpott

For years, proponents of genetically modified crops have hailed them as a critical tool for weaning farmers from reliance on toxic pesticides. On its website, the GMO-seed-and-agrichemical giant Monsanto makes the green case for its Roundup Ready crops, engineered to withstand the company's own blockbuster herbicide, Roundup:

Roundup agricultural herbicides and other products are used to sustainably an [sic] effectively control weeds on the farm. Their use on Roundup Ready crops has allowed farmers to conserve fuel, reduce tillage and decrease the overall use of herbicides.

But in a just-released paper ( published in the peer-reviewed Environmental Sciences Europe, Chuck Benbrook, research professor at Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, shreds that claim. He found that Monsanto's Roundup Ready technology, which dominates corn, soy, and cotton farming, has called forth a veritable monsoon of herbicides, both in terms of higher application rates for Roundup, and, in recent years, growing use of other, more-toxic herbicides.

Benbrook found that overall, GMO technology drove up herbicide use by 527 million pounds, or about 11 percent, between 1996 (when Roundup Ready crops first hit farm fields) and 2011. But it gets worse. For several years, the Roundup Ready trait actually did meet Monsanto's promise of decreasing overall herbicide use—herbicide use dropped by about 2 percent between 1996 and 1999, Benbrook told me in an interview. But then weeds started to develop resistance to Roundup, pushing farmers to apply higher per-acre rates. In 2002, farmers using Roundup Ready soybeans jacked up their Roundup application rates by 21 percent, triggering a 19 million pound overall increase in Roundup use.

Since then, an herbicide gusher has been uncorked. By 2011, farms using Roundup Ready seeds were using 24 percent more herbicide than non-GMO farms planting the same crops, Benbrook told me. What happened? By that time, "in all three crops [corn, soy, and cotton], resistant weeds had fully kicked in," Benbrook said, and farmers were responding both by ramping up use of Roundup and resorting to older, more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D.

Now, biotech industry defenders might counter that the surge in herbicide use is balanced by the other main product offered by the industry: seeds engineered to contain the toxic-to-insects gene found in Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a naturally occurring bacterial pesticide. The pitch is this: Rather having to spray corn and cotton with insecticides, plant our Bt seeds, and your insect problems are taken care of.

Benbrook found that the Bt trait indeed led to a reduction in insecticide use of 123 million pounds between 1996 and 2011. But that figure is dwarfed by the 527 million pound, GMO-driven increase in herbicide use over the same period. In other words, GMOs have added more than four pounds of herbicides to US farm fields for every pound of insecticide they've taken away. Overall, Benbrook found, GMOs have lead to a net increase in pesticide use (meaning herbicides plus insecticides) of 404 million pounds, a 7 percent gain.

And just as weeds developed resistance to year-after-year applications of Roundup, corn's number-one insect pest, the rootworm, is quickly evolving to be able to withstand Bt-engineered corn, as I've reported before ( Benbrook told me that in areas of the Midwest where farmers have been planting Bt corn year after year—an increasingly popular practice, since the explosion in ethanol production that started in 2006—ag university extension experts are suggesting that farmers spray other insecticides to supplement the failing Bt trait in their corn. "The goal of this technology was to make it possible not have to spray these corn insecticides, and now we have to spray them again to bail out this technology," Benbrook told me.

The chemical war against pests will likely get yet another boost from the failure of Roundup. As I've reported before, GMO seed giants Monsanto and Dow are preparing to roll out seeds designed to resist both Roundup and older herbicides including 2,4-D, the less toxic half of the formulation that made up the infamous Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange. The industry insists that weeds won't develop resistance to the new products. But last year, a group of Penn State weed scientists published a paper warning that the new products are "likely to increase the severity of resistant weeds." Indeed, 2,4-D-resistant weeds have already been documented in Nebraska.

In his paper, Benbrook created a model for how a 2,4-D-resistant corn product, if released in 2013, would affect 2,4-D use. One of the actual benefits of Roundup Ready technology is that it has until recently made 2,4-D almost obsolete—its use on corn crops went from 4.4 million pounds in 1995 to 2.4 million in 2000. It hovered at that level for a while before jumping to 3.3 million pounds in 2010, as farmers increasingly resorted to it to attack Roundup-resistant weeds. If 2,4-D resistant corn is widely adopted, Benbrook projects, making what he calls "conservative" assumptions, 2,4-D use will hit 103.4 million pounds on corn fields per year by 2019. Overall, Benbrook projects a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D applied between 2000 and 2019. Because 2,4-D is so toxic, the result will not be pretty. Here's Benbrook's study:

Such a dramatic increase could pose heightened risk of birth defects and other reproductive problems, more severe impacts on aquatic ecosystems, and more frequent instances of off-target movement and damage to nearby crops and plants.

The only question on GMOs and pesticide use Benbrook's paper leaves open is: When will Monsanto correct the absurd claim on its website that its highly lucrative technology has allowed farmers to cut back on herbicides?

Copyright ©2012 Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress.

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