Tell USDA to Reject “Agent Orange” Soy
Dow Chemical is currently requesting yet another unprecedented USDA approval: a genetically engineered (GE) version of soy that is resistant to 2,4-D, a major component of the highly toxic Agent Orange. Agent Orange was the chemical defoliant used by the U.S. in Vietnam, and it caused lasting ecological damage as well as many serious medical conditions in both Vietnam veterans and the Vietnamese. USDA approval of Dow’s GE soybeans will trigger a huge increase in 2,4-D use – and our exposure to this toxic herbicide. This will come on top of a large spike in 2,4-D use from Dow’s 2,4-D resistant GE corn.
Sign the petition to USDA telling them to reject Dow's genetically engineered, 2,4-D resistant soy!
The scientific community has sounded alarms about the dangers of 2,4-D for decades. Numerous studies link 2,4-D exposure to major health problems such as cancer, lowered sperm counts, liver toxicity, Parkinson’s disease and birth anomalies in the children of pesticide applicators. Industry and independent scientific tests show that 2,4-D is still contaminated with dioxins. Dioxin contaminants in Agent Orange are thought to be a major cause of many serious medical conditions in both Vietnam veterans and the Vietnamese, including birth defects in the children of exposed parents. EPA has reported that 2,4-D is the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S.
Commercial approval of Dow’s soy will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use, but USDA has not conducted a meaningful review of the consequent harm to native ecosystems, crop injury from 2,4-D drifting onto neighboring fields, or the evolution of weeds resistant to 2,4-D. 2,4-D is already the number one culprit in drift-related crop injury complaints, and the huge increase in its use with 2,4-D soy will exacerbate these harms. Even the existing uses of 2,4-D have been found likely to jeopardize protected species such as Pacific salmon, and likely to adversely affect the California red-legged frog and Alameda whipsnake; USDA’s approval of 2,4-D soy would worsen these impacts, as well as place many other similar and endangered species at risk.
Additionally, Dow plans to sell this GE 2-4,D soy “stacked” with resistance to glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup—and glufosinate herbicides, yet neither Dow nor USDA has analyzed the potential synergistic or cumulative impacts that these planned combinations pose. Glufosinate has both reproductive and neurological toxicity to mammals, and on this basis is slated to be banned in the EU by 2017.
Dow is hyping 2,4-D corn and soy as the supposed solution to glyphosate-resistant weeds, which themselves were fostered by GE Roundup Ready crop systems. As Dow and other pesticide firms develop new crops resistant to ever more herbicides, weeds will match and exceed them by evolving multiple resistances, and farmers will respond with increasingly toxic herbicidal cocktails. This chemical arms race with weeds means more pesticidal pollution, more disease, higher production costs, and of course increasing profits for firms like Dow that sell both GE seed and pesticides.
At a time when farmers, citizens and government have worked hard to limit our use of, and exposure to, toxic chemicals like 2,4-D and dioxins, approving this crop would take us dramatically backwards, endangering human health and the environment. I urge you to heed the warnings of the scientific and environmental communities and deny approval of 2,4-D resistant GE soy. At the very least, USDA must conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement that carefully examines the human health, environmental and agricultural harms that will be triggered by 2,4-D soy, including a cumulative assessment that considers the compounded harms from additional deregulation of Dow’s 2,4-D resistant corn.