(NaturalNews) It is getting down to the wire for the potential deregulation of the toxic herbicide 2,4-D, aka "Agent Orange," and its associated crops, and food freedom advocates everywhere are turning up the heat on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop this from happening.
A grassroots coalition of farmers, food companies, and concerned individuals known as Save Our Crops has filed a petition with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the EPA requesting that they conduct a proper environmental impact statement of the herbicides 2,4-D, which is produced by Dow AgroScience, and dicamba, which is produced by Monsanto Co., before even thinking about deregulating them.
The two chemicals are set to be released in response to the growing problem of pesticide- and herbicide-resistant "superweeds," which are increasingly plaguing conventional crop fields. But unlike existing chemical treatments, 2,4-D and dicamba are extremely toxic, and threaten to destroy nearby trees, plants, and crops, which will have a devastating impact on the environment as a whole.
"2,4-D and dicamba are known to drift and volatilize, causing damage to plants over 10 miles away from the point of application," says the Save Our Crops Coalition. "Thus, the Save Our Crops Coalition has petitioned APHIS (USDA) and EPA to prepare an environmental impact statement to consider the cumulative impacts of the deregulation of all synthetic auxin herbicide tolerant crops."
As we reported on previously, 2,4-D, Dow's new "solution" to the superweed problem, is composed of roughly 50 percent of the Agent Orange chemical weapon used to carpet-bomb Vietnamese villages during the Vietnam War. This deadly chemical is capable of destroying virtually anything it comes into contact with, except, of course, the genetically-modified (GM) crops designed to resist it (http://www.naturalnews.com).
When 2,4-D is sprayed, it very easily spreads and comes into contact with other plants and animal life. Even at very low levels, 2,4-D can cause "extensive yield damage to non-target crops," according to Save Our Crops, not to mention the profuse health problems it causes to animals and humans upon exposure or consumption.
And dicamba, Monsanto's version of 2,4-D, is not that much different. According to research compiled by scientists from Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and the University of California at Davis, dicamba is a pervasive plant killer that can cause birth defects and other serious problems in humans (http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu).
Neither 2,4-D nor dicamba has ever been properly safety tested, or ever undergone a comprehensive environmental impact assessment. And yet the USDA and the EPA are poised to allow the unregulated use of these chemicals in conventional agriculture, much in the same way that the USDA decided to deregulate GM alfalfa back in early 2011 (http://www.naturalnews.com/GM_alfalfa.html).
"The dramatic increase in the use of 2,4-D and dicamba, and these herbicides' known impacts on off-target crops threaten the survival of the specialty crop production in the Midwest," said Steve Smith of Red Gold, an Indiana-based food processor. "It's time USDA, the stewards of American agriculture, stood up and considered the cumulative impacts of all these crops."
There is also still time to leave a comment of opposition to 2,4-D and dicamba in the Federal Register. The deadline for submission is April, 27, 2012: http://saveourcrops.org