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Why We Need to Keep ‘Agent Orange’ GMO Crops Off Our Farms


Have you heard of superweeds? For years, Monsanto has been selling genetically engineered (GE) or GMO corn and soybeans that promote the use of an herbicide called Roundup. Evolution is happening, and now weeds are becoming resistant to Monsanto’s killer.

Dow Chemical thinks they have the solution – new GE corn and soybeans genetically engineered to survive an even more toxic herbicide called 2,4-D.  But big profits for Dow Chemical is bad news for the rest of us!


2,4-D was a major component of the chemical defoliant known as Agent Orange

Agent Orange was sprayed aerially by U.S. planes in Vietnam to destroy the country’s forests and agricultural lands. The veterans and civilians exposed to Agent Orange experienced extreme health complications – a range of cancers and birth defects have been linked to exposure to the toxic chemical. The Vietnamese Red Cross estimates nearly 1 million people have experienced health problems as a result of the use of Agent Orange.[1]

2,4-D alone is the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S

2,4-D is thought to be the less toxic component of Agent Orange, but 2,4-D alone is the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S. Dioxins are highly toxic chemical byproducts of 2,4-D and can bioaccumulate, which means they can build up in your system over time. A 2008 study found that women living near Dow Chemical’s facility in Michigan have significantly higher rates of breast cancer.[2] It has been projected that Dow Chemical’s corn and soybeans would increase the amount of 2,4-D used in industrial agriculture by over 100 million pounds,[3] severely increasing the amount of this toxic herbicide in our food, air, and water.


Exposure to 2,4-D has been linked to major health problems

Health problems include cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lowered sperm counts, liver disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Studies have also demonstrated the chemical’s adverse effects on hormonal, reproductive, neurological, and immune systems.[4],[5],[6],[7],[8]

Dow Chemicals has lied about product safety before

Dow Chemical insists that the use of 2,4-D is safe. But they also assured the public that an insecticide called Dursban was safe…until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined Dow Chemical $800,000 for illegally withholding over 250 reports of poisonings, including many that occurred even when the product was used correctly.

Why did Dow Chemical think Dursban was safe? They fed it to prisoners in New York and decided that none became “violently” ill right away.[9]

Even after paying the EPA fine for withholding evidence of poisonings, Dow Chemical continued to market Dursban as “safe” in its brochures. In 2003, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued the company for violating a 1994 agreement against falsely advertising the product as safe. Dow Chemical agreed to pay $2,000,000.

So, do YOU trust Dow Chemical to care for the crops you could feed your kids? Currently, the USDA is reviewing Dow Chemical’s new GE crops designed to be resistant to 2,4-D, and they are accepting public comments until February 24.

It is up to you to say “No” to Dow Chemical Company’s “Agent Orange” crops!  

Learn more and take action at www.dow-watch.org.


[1] International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. March 14, 2002. “Vietnam Red Cross urges more aid to Agent Orange casualties.”
[2] Dai, D. & T.J. Oyana. (2008). “Spatial variations in the incidence of breast cancer and potential risks associated with soil dioxin contamination in Midland, Saginaw, and Bay Counties, Michigan, USA” Environ. Health, 7: p. 49.
[3] Mortenson, David A. et al. (January 2012). “Navigating a Critical Juncture for Sustainable Weed Management.”BioScience, 62(1): 75-84
[4] Soloman, G. MD, MPH & M. Wu, Esp. (2008). “Natural Resources Defense Council’s Petition to Revoke All Tolerances and Cancel All Registrations for the Pesticide 2,4-D,” Natural Resources Defense Council, filed with EPA on 11/6/08, Natural Resources Defense Council.
[5] Cox, C (2006). “2,4-D Herbicide Factsheet,” Journal of Pesticide Reform 25(4), updated April 2006. http://www.pesticide.org/get-the-facts/pesticide-fact- sheets/factsheets/24d-factsheet.
[6] Leonard, C, CM Burke, C O’Keefe, JS Doyle (1997). “‘Golf ball liver’: Agent Orange hepatitis,” Gut 40: 687-688
[7] Johnston, S, G McCusker,  TJ Tobinson (1998), “‘Golf ball liver’: a cause of chronic hepatitis?” Gut 42: 143.
[8] Tanner, C.M. et al (2009). “Occupation and risk of Parkinsonism,” Archives of Neurology 66: 1106-1113.
[9] Morris, J. (October 31 1999). “The stuff in the backyard shed – The pesticide is effective and sells like mad. But is it safe for everyone?” U.S. News and World Report. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/991108/archive_002302.htm


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One comment on “Why We Need to Keep ‘Agent Orange’ GMO Crops Off Our Farms”

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Diane Frances
4 Years Ago

Just as a Viet Nam Veteran about the effects of 2,4-D. Do we have to learn this lesson again?


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