EPA Paves Pathway for 'Agent Orange' GM Corn

EPA rejects a petition to ban the pesticide 2,4-D, paving the way for widespread use on Dow Chemical's genetically modified corn seeds.


| April 10, 2010



field corn

The use of Dow Chemical's pesticide 2,4-D on GM corn crops could have devastating effects on surrounding home gardens.


PHOTO: FOTOLIA/MARIANNE MAYER

What this article does not mention is that if the EPA approves Dow Chemical's new GM corn resistant to 2,4-D, many, many home gardens will be damaged. It is well-documented that 2,4-D readily volatizes and drifts long distances to damage all kinds of garden crops. 

Please take action now to tell the EPA not to allow this new GM corn and 2,4-D to be used. If we don't, those of us who live near corn fields may well be unable to grow gardens once farmers begin widespread spraying of 2,4-D. — Cheryl Long, Editor in Chief MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition to ban the sale of the 2,4-D pesticide, 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 pesticide 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.

t brandt
5/3/2012 8:53:27 PM

??? Half life of 2,4 d is 5 days, so it's all gone in 20 days and should no longer be posing a problem for you after that. ...If you spray it, it drifts. Application should be done as close to its tarfget as possible and probably best to avoid windy days. Sorry about your trees, but your neighbor is to blame, not the chemical.


jane onspaugh
5/3/2012 4:18:41 PM

Our neighbor's use of an herbicide with 2, 4-D in it to keep his lawn weed-free, killed our elderberry and grape vines last year. Overspary is very hard to control, especially in very windy areas. We can not grow anything but grass within 30 feet of that property line. It is frustrating to waste that much of our yard. There are herbicides that do not drift so eaily. The thought of a GM crop that is resistent to 2,4-D is scarey because we are within a mile of corn fields. If that drift makes it to our yard, it will affect more than just 30 feet.


t brandt
4/29/2012 12:08:46 PM

The term "Agent Orange" is used here quite obviously for its emotional impact, but it should be pointed out that it is actually quite a safe (everything is relative) chemical. A landmark study published ~1982 showed that exposed Viet Nam vets and their subsequent children were actually healthier a decade later than the cohort GIs (& their kids) who were not sent to Nam. The indemnity paid to vets by Congress for exposure was a purely political move not substantiated by the science....Just because resistance to antibiotics developes with their repeated use, should we stop using antibiotics? Then why stop using pesticides if resistance developes? It's another example of the dynamic evolutionary battle between predator & prey....The problem of "over- spray drift" is common to use of all ag chemicals and is corrected by more accurate technique by the farmer, not by eliminating use of the needed chemical.


james syms
4/27/2012 7:45:54 PM

On the first page you state the 2,4-D is a pesticide several times. I thing you mean herbicide. I completely agree that the widespread use of that stuff is bad news.






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