By Andrea Germanos | CommonDreams
Watchdog groups are denouncing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommendation on Wednesday to approve new varieties of genetically engineered corn and soybeans as a path towards more toxic pesticides that threaten the environment and public health.
"We are outraged," stated Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, senior scientist with Pesticide Action Network, adding that the "USDA has turned its back on America’s farmers and rural communities."
The new crops are Dow AgroScience’s 2,4-D- and glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans. They are made to be used with Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide, which contains 2,4-D and glyphosate and is also under review by the USDA.
The decision to advance the crops towards full deregulation flies in face of warnings by food and environmental groups, doctors, scientists, 50 members of Congress, as well as thousands of public comments to the USDA.
The calls not to green-light the crops focus on the dangers of 2,4-D, whose use the USDA admits will increase at least three-fold with the Enlist package.
Writing at Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) AgMag blog, Mary Ellen Kustin and Soren Rundquist detail the group’s analysis showing that over 5,600 American schools are within 200 feet from a field where 2,4-D could be sprayed if the Enlist Duo package is fully approved, a particularly noteworthy finding as 2,4-D has been linked to Parkinson’s, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer and other health problems.
Further, Dow’s strategy of using additional pesticides to tackle the problem of so-called superweeds—like Roundup-resistant weeds—continues a profitable "pesticide treadmill."
Read the full article at: commondreams.org