Agent Orange Ingredient to be Used in GMO Crops
Dow’s new GM product, dubbed “Enlist,” is a three-gene, herbicide-tolerant soybean that has been engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular Roundup herbicide, along with glufosinate and 2,4-D. The company expects to earn $1.5 billion in additional profit in 2013 by selling these triple herbicide-resistant seeds. As noted by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs:
“The two active ingredients in the Agent Orange herbicide combination were equal amounts of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), which contained traces of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).”
Ironically, while Dow’s new crops would seriously escalate the use of 2,4-D, Monsanto is currently facing a class-action lawsuit involving the other Agent Orange ingredient, 2,4,5-T. The suit alleges that homes and schools near one of its 2,4,5-T chemical plants are now contaminated with cancer-causing dioxin, a byproduct of the manufacturing process. This should be a wake-up call to those considering widespread application of any toxic Agent Orange ingredient.
Dow, however, is touting the new product as a solution to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GM crops, which currently dominate the GM seed market but are now being overshadowed by problems with weed resistance (not to mention that glyphosate itself is also incredibly toxic, and has been linked to infertility, among other serious health problems).
Where Monsanto has failed, Dow and other chemical rivals like DuPont, Syngenta, and Bayer (which are also working on their own herbicide-resistant GM seeds) see opportunity. So Dow has trotted in on their white horse to offer a new variety of GM crop, which they say will not pose the “superweed” problem that Roundup Ready crops have created.
This is not so, according to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which researchers state that suggesting 2,4-D will not lead to widespread weed resistance “misrepresented the potential for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)–resistant weeds in 2,4-D–resistant cropping systems and exaggerated the sustainability of their approach to addressing glyphosate-resistant weed problems in agriculture.”
They, in fact, note 28 species across 16 plant families that have already evolved resistance to similar herbicides to 2,4-D. Further, as stated on GreenMedInfo, the new Enlist crops are setting the stage for even greater and simultaneous herbicide use, the health ramifications of which are completely unknown:
“Instead of learning from Monsanto’s colossal mistakes (which happens when you play geneticist-as-God and use a broad spectrum poison to kill all but your “chosen” plants) Dow AgroScience’s solution is to multiply the problem by a factor of three, creating the “first-ever, three-gene,” herbicide-tolerant staple crops.
What this means is that instead of using only one highly toxic herbicide (Roundup), three will be used simultaneously, further increasing the risk of serious exposures, and setting up the conditions for synergistic toxicities – something that toxicological risk assessments on singular herbicide ingredients, which establish “an acceptable level of harm,” never account for.”
Until next time,