April 18, 2024

CFS Warns the EPA Will Approve Agent Orange on GE Crops

The Center for Food Safety is warning the public that the EPA is set to approve the direct spraying of the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) on Dow Chemical’s genetically engineered corn and soybeans. That chemical is one-half of the compound called “Agent Orange” used in Vietnam to destroy foliage; it caused cancer among Vietnam veterans. EPA will render a decision after a 30 day comment period. Dow developed the GE crops, known as “Enlist”, to withstand high doses of 2,4-D (which it also sells) after its disastrous Roundup Ready crops created glyphosate-resistant superweeds.

Farm FieldYou can sign a petition opposing this action at CFS web site called “Dow Watch”. CFS opposes this move by the EPA because they state, “wide scale use of herbicides in tandem with GE crops has led to an epidemic of herbicide resistant weeds, and the next step in the chemical arms race is Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D, a chemical linked to major health problems including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, and reproductive problems.”

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety said in a statement, “with this decision it is clear that the EPA is serving the interests of Dow Chemical and the biotech industry rather than protecting our health and the environment. 2,4-D is not a solution to glyphosate-resistant weeds. Weeds will rapidly evolve resistance to 2,4-D as well if these crops are approved, driving a toxic spiral of ever-increasing herbicide use.”

The USDA has given preliminary approval to Enlist crops, but at the same time warned that these plants would increase the annual use of 2,4-D in American agriculture from 26 million pounds a year to 176 million pounds. In 2012, seventy scientists wrote a letter to the EPA, urging the Agency to reject Dow’s application for Enlist plants.

That letter states that 2,4-D is linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and causes birth defects in addition to the other ailments listed above. California classifies 2,4-D as a toxic air contaminant. The EPA itself classifies 2,4-D as a hazardous air pollutant. In addition, studies conducted in Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio have found that 2,4-D is blowing in or being tracked into homes. 2,4-D was found in the carpet dust of 83 to 98% of the homes sampled in those states, despite the fact that most homeowners reported they had not used the chemical recently.


  1. Tami K. Hastings says

    (shaking my head) Thank you for posting this and for the petition link. I signed and shared it on FB.

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