USDA Quietly Approves New GMO Corn, While Touting Safety of Agent Orange IngredientPosted: January 5, 2012
Over the holidays, the USDA approved a strain of Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn that can now be planted freely in the environment and distributed throughout the U.S. food supply, with no oversight or efforts to track its safety.
Instead, the agency ignored its own results as well as concerns from the public, which has little trust in the safety of the crop. Nearly 45,000 public comments were written in opposition to the particular corn variety and only 23 comments were written in favor, according to the Cornucopia Institute.
Approving an Agent Orange Chemical
Other GMO crops are also on the way. Cornucopia reports that the USDA has opened a public comment period for a soybean variety from Monsanto containing increased levels of an omega-3 fatty acid—which you hear a lot about as being healthy, but it doesn’t not naturally occur in soybeans.
The agency is also holding a public comment period for a GMO corn from Dow engineered to better resist the poisonous herbicide 2,4-D.
While the USDA attempts to assure the public that 2,4-D is safe, scientists have raised serious concerns about the safety of this herbicide, which was used as a key ingredient in “Agent Orange,” used to defoliate forests and croplands in the Vietnam War.
2,4-D is a chlorophenoxy herbicide, and scientists around the world have reported increased cancer risks in association with its use, especially for soft tissue sarcoma and malignant lymphoma. Four separate studies in the United States reported an association with chlorophenoxy herbicide use and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Mark Kastel from Cornucopia said, “the approval of a cultivar 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 itsRoundup herbicide—and which has led to the evolution of superweeds that grow up to three inches per day.
Bad News for Public Health and Safety
The science of the effects of this chemcial is frightening:
Research by the EPA found that babies born in counties with high rates of 2,4-D application to farm fields were significantly more likely to be born with birth defects of the respiratory and circulatory systems, as well as defects of the musculoskeletal system like clubfoot, fused digits and extra digits. These birth defects were 60% to 90% more likely in counties with higher 2,4-D application rates.
Birth defects were also found to be more likely in babies conceived in the spring—when application of herbicides is at its highest.
There’s also a touch of irony that should not be overlooked, again from Cornucopia:
In its petition, Dow AgroSciences states that 2,4-D is increasingly important for chemical farmers because of the presence of weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate, as a result of the widespread use of Monsanto’s genetically engineered glyphosate-resistant crops.
When Monsanto introduced glyphosate, it was touted as a safer and less toxic alternative to herbicides like 2,4-D. Now, an emerging body of scientific literature is raising serious concerns about the safety of glyphosate as well.