Big Ag-Steamroller

Businesses naturally exert themselves to increase sales, sometimes even if their products may be detrimental to the health of people and the planet. Case in point: Monsanto and DowAgrosciences want to expand their markets for the huge volume herbicides, Atrazine and 2,4-D. Currently, about 80 to 100 million pounds of Atrazine and 30 to 45 million pounds of 2,4-D are annually applied to U.S. crops. That’s one-third to one-half pound per person in the U.S. – each year! You may be concerned about the safety and the fate of this huge volume of herbicides – whether it ends up in our water or in the food we eat.

According to the International Journal of Occupational Environmental Health, Atrazine is a hormone disruptor, and there is evidence that it interferes with reproduction and development, and may cause cancer. EPA approved its use in 2003, the same year that the European Union banned its use because of water contamination (via runoff from farm fields). 2,4-D is banned in several European countries. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, dozens of studies have demonstrated a link between 2,4-D and cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hormonal disruption, reproductive problems and birth defects. Atrazine is used extensively on corn and other crops, and 2,4-D is the most commonly used weed-control product in the home and garden and golf greens markets. Atrazine shows up in 94% of U.S. drinking water, according to the Pesticide Action Network.

Dow and Monsanto are scheming together because weeds have been developing resistance to Monsanto’s best selling herbicide Roundup. Now Dow has developed a genetically modified variety of corn that can tolerate 2,4-D, thus allow it to be used to kill off  the Roundup-resistant weeds while not damaging the corn. Two consequences follow. One, farmers would have to use 2,4-D and Atrazine, inundating the land with even more millions of pounds of herbicides. Two, according to Truthout News Analysis, “Nobody knows what effect introducing this hybrid (corn) would have on the health of American consumers. Corn laced with high levels of 2,4-D could taint everything from breakfast cereals to the beef of cattle, which concentrate  the toxin in their flesh. Given that corn and high-fructose corn syrup are key elements in so many processed foods, some health experts warn that all Americans will soon be guinea pigs in an ill-conceived mass experiment with one of the staples of our food supply.”

Both companies contend that their herbicide products are safe. Do you want to rely upon the safety pronouncements of giant agribusinesses?

Who is in charge of your health?

Industrial polluters, or
Agribusiness, or
Food corporations, or
U.S. Health organizations, or
Your doctor, or

The best answer is YOU!

What can we do about this? Write to our representatives in Congress urging them to not permit the UDSA to deregulate Monsanto’s and DowAgrosciences’ new genetically modified variety of corn. Also urge them to make the FDA mandate that all genetically modified foods carry a GMO label. We have a right to know what we are eating!


About donlouis

The author has long had a keen interest in staying healthy and fit, and in doing whatever I can to keep the natural environment unpolluted and a healthy space for people and all animals. As a former Board Member of a municipal water district, I regularly had to deal with the issue of water quality. I first became aware of radiation hazards from toxic materials while working on uranium for nuclear reactors. During the 1960s I was tuned into the global hazard from Strontium 90 raining down from atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs. While working in the chemical industry in later years I became aware of the many forms of chemical contaminants entering the environment every day, and resolved to do something about it. I am able to make sense out of the voluminous descriptions of common toxic chemical because of my training in chemistry, with a Ph.D. degree and several decades of research and development work in the chemical industry. My training and experience enables me to present to readers reliable and current information on the topic of chemical hazards in the environment, and their threats to human health. All my life I have loved hiking and camping in nature. Skiing, river kayaking, and tennis have been my favorite physical activities. Nature photography is my artistic passion.
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