Scientists and business leaders urge US government to reject toxic herbicide mix of glyphosate and Agent Orange ingredient
A group of scientists and medical experts is calling on the Obama Administration to reject an application by Dow AgroSciences seeking approval for a new herbicide known as Enlist Duo, which contains the glyphosate component of Roundup and the 2,4-D component of the Vietnam War weapon Agent Orange in a single solution.
The herbicide blend is being proposed by the Dow Chemical Co. subsidiary as a solution to pest and weed resistance, which has emerged as a result of pesticide overuse. The popular Monsanto herbicide Roundup, as we’ve previously reported, is no longer as effective as it once was, which is why Dow is pushing for a stronger solution in Enlist Duo.
“Enlist Duo would be used on millions of acres of farm fields in combination with a new type of herbicide-resistant, genetically engineered crops,” explains an announcement by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which is fighting the herbicide’s approval.
During a recent Congressional briefing, the panel opposing Enlist Duo explained how the chemical solution poses a serious threat to children, as its persistence on food crops and their respective derivatives will lead to disease and death. Pregnant women are also susceptible, says the panel, as are their unborn children.
“Exposures to herbicides in early life can lead to disease in childhood or disease later on in adult life or even old age,” stated Dr. Philip Landrigan from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Landrigan was joined by Dr. Catherine Thomasson from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Dr. John P. Wargo, Ph.D., from Yale University, Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D., from the Center for Food Safety, and Gary Hirshberg from Stonyfield Farm and the GMO labeling group Just Label It.
“Herbicide chemicals can also cross from mother to child during pregnancy and prenatal exposures that occur during the nine months of pregnancy are especially dangerous,” he added.
Enlist Duo with 2,4-D poses ‘lifelong and irreversible effects’ on vulnerable populations
Pesticides and herbicides are inherently dangerous because they are designed to kill. But what makes Enlist Duo particularly threatening is its 2,4-D component, which was used as a defoliant back in the 1970s. It is much stronger than most other herbicides currently on the market, and reports already indicate that it can cause paralysis and other health problems.
“I spent a whole summer with my right arm paralyzed,” stated Klaas Martens, a New York farmer, to The Organic & Non-GMO Report about his experience using 2,4-D. “The health risks of 2,4-D are well documented,” he added.
A study by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook, for instance, found that 2,4-D exposure can lead to reproductive problems, spontaneous abortions and birth defects. California farm workers who spray on commercial fields have also reportedly developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The group of experts opposing Enlist Duo’s approval is also warning of this and other damage — what it refers to as “lifelong and irreversible effects on the health of vulnerable populations.” These populations include young children, pregnant women and farm workers, all of whom are helpless in avoiding exposure.
The threat of 2,4-D to the environment is also significant, as its persistence in soils and both surface and groundwater means that people everywhere stand to be exposed.
“Spraying millions of additional acres with these chemicals will increase their contamination of soils, surface and groundwater and foods bearing their residues,” explained the team. “If applied by aircraft, sprays will drift to adjacent lands, potentially endangering those who reside, go to school or work nearby.”
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