Ready for 2,4-D Corn?

| 5/24/2012 2:02:37 PM

Tags: 2 4-D, genetic engineering, GMOs, industrial agriculture, Monsanto, Roundup,

Hands Holding CornIndustrial agriculture has a big problem, and its proposed solution will put thousands of home gardens, vineyards and vegetable farms at risk.

As was predicted, weeds have evolved to be resistant to Roundup, Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide, thereby reducing the yields of widely grown genetically engineered (GE) Roundup-Ready crops most farmers are now dependent upon. So Dow AgroSciences has developed a genetically modified corn, Enlist, that can tolerate the herbicide 2,4-D (Dicholorophenoxyacetic acid), familiar to many as a component in Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War. Monsanto and other companies are working on their own versions of 2,4-D-tolerant crops.

But the problem is, 2,4-D doesn’t stay where it’s sprayed. It vaporizes and drifts on the wind, and has a long history of damaging neighboring crops and home gardens. It is also considered highly toxic to honeybees and has been linked to human health problems ranging from cancer to endocrine disruption, immunosuppression and more.

Last April, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw 2,4-D’s registration, but the agency denied the petition. Now, if the U.S. Department of Agriculture approves the switch to Enlist GE corn and other 2,4-D-immune seeds, it will mean certain damage to home gardens and organic farms. MOTHER will report more about this issue later this year, but meanwhile, the more letters opposing increased use of 2,4-D that reach Congress, the EPA and the USDA, the better. To read more about this issue, see EPA Denies an Environmental Group’s Request to Ban a Widely Used Weed Killer from The New York Times.

Robin Mather is a senior associate editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and the author of The Feast Nearby, a collection of essays and recipes from her year of eating locally on $40 a week. In her spare time, she is a hand-spinner, knitter, weaver, homebrewer, cheese maker and avid cook who cures her own bacon. Find her on Twitter, Facebook or .

t brandt
7/18/2012 3:23:22 PM

I'll stand by my statement based on the data:,4-D rather than accept your fantasies about the chemical. BTW- we're talking about 2,4 D, not dioxin.

david cline
7/17/2012 7:46:04 PM

absolutely correct. You post the truth and the wackos come out and attack you. I use it in my home garden from time to time for weed control in corn. I don't have cancer but my green neighbor whose a vegetarian does. Calm down people with out modern ag chemicals you don't eat.

john ledoux
6/6/2012 3:36:28 AM

It's all about the money.

robert peterson
6/5/2012 2:14:17 AM

WooHoo I can hardly wait to get my fair dose of Agent Orange

tom connor
6/4/2012 11:20:49 PM

Juliet: the link you provided brings up : "The Page You Requested Cannot Be Found" Would you test and re-post it?

tom connor
6/4/2012 11:17:08 PM

Mortis Noctu: Data please. Where are the bodies? EPA made a fool of itself with Times Beach MO over this issue and backing down would admit error, so they don't. Yet, there is no evidence to substantiate your or their claim.

6/4/2012 7:26:05 PM

Cancer anyone? We have so much chemicals coming at us from so many directions, why don't we add it to all the food and we can all suffer!

joseph gerlach
6/4/2012 6:05:36 PM

Successful, I agree, organically modified organisms have allowed farmers to grow high yield crops and with very little problems with insects, but at what cost? I don't have to do much research to understand that what we put on the crops will flow down hill in to the streams and effect the animals who live in the streams. I just ask people to understand how they effect the balance of nature by modifying it. The effect on the overall ecosystem should always have the highest importance above the yield of our crops. We may need to modify our diets, a small cost for a healthier future.

juliet smith
6/3/2012 3:18:34 AM

what you said too!

mortis noctu
6/3/2012 3:05:21 AM

What you said! I love you!

mortis noctu
6/3/2012 3:03:57 AM

Dioxin is second only to nuclear waste in toxicity! It is the most toxic material made by man.... You should be held responsible for your lies! You are no better then a common murder!

juliet smith
6/3/2012 2:53:52 AM

You are so wrong, thegooddoctor tim. EPA documents reveal that 2,4-D agricultural runoff has polluted groundwater across the US. Dioxin has a half-life of more than 100 years when leached into soil and embedded in water systems. This is a very real threat and should not be dismissed so easily. The structure and dna of the human body can be changed permanently by these chemicals thus affecting not only the person but the offspring of that person. The arrogance in suggesting a chemical, plastic or oil company can better provide what nature has evolved to provide (when and where we need it) is appalling, and the history of these companies coupled with the government is enough to put a huge doubt in any intelligent persons mind. To think we need a government official to tell us the slow poisoning over time, that has occurred is happening, before we see it is absurd. Furthermore, corn and soy will not feed the world. If you are proposing this has anything to do with ending world hunger rather than pure profit and manipulation, I suspect you either live under a rock or are directly profiting from this experiment on the human race.

thegooddoctor tim
5/29/2012 12:09:29 AM

Perhaps you wouldn't feel so exasperated if you'd do a little research on this subject: there simply is no evidence that 2,4-D used on our food has any health risks associated with it. "BigAg" doesn;t grow any food- they buy it from the producers. Producers use chemicals because the profit margin in farming is very small and without the little bit extra yield from those chemicals, the risks of farming would outweigh the profits and farmers would quit farming. ...2.4-D is one of the safest chemicals we use: it affects only certain plant enzyme systems and doesn't affect animals. It breaks down quickly (a few days), so it has little lasting effect. The only health problems documented from it are in accidentlal, large exposures, not from routine, recommended practices....Keep in mind that "organic" farming methods can only produce enough to feed 4 billion people. We already have 7 billion.

scott rinne
5/26/2012 2:57:47 PM

MARTINC must work for one of them criminal(Chemical) companies.

twyla hein
5/26/2012 3:13:54 AM

And look where that has brought us. Big ag controls everything and the small family farmer has to fight for their right to grow without harmful chemicals. Yeah sure, it's been sprayed on corn since the 40's, but what has it done to everything else it comes in contact with? I just don't understand how people can continue to ignore the damage chemicals are doing to our land, our food and our bodies. When are people going to wake up and stand up for stop believing Monsanto, Cargill, USDA and other big ag buddies!

5/26/2012 2:55:41 AM

You people need to do some research before You post headlines like this, 2-4-D has been very successfully sprayed on corn since the 40's

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