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Originally published August 23 2014

Pesticide exposure puts students at 500 elementary schools across America at risk of cancer, neurological, reproductive and immune problems

by Julie Wilson

(NaturalNews) Dow AgroSciences is getting closer to releasing their "Enlist Weed Control System," a new package that includes two "old" chemicals, glyphosate and 2,4-D, along with seeds genetically engineered to withstand the combination.

The package will provide "robust" tolerance for glyphosate-resistant crops, finally closing the damper on "superweeds," according to the industry. Dow's marketing page for Enlist acknowledges that while "over time nature adapts," they predict it will be impossible for plants to grow resistant to Enlist Duo, due it its potency.

Glyphosate is the notorious weedkiller in Monsanto's Roundup, which has been proven to destroy the human cellular system.

As most of you know, the U.S. military dumped 6 million gallons of 2,4-D during the Vietnam War to clear out foliage, destroying the enemy's cover. More than 5 million people became victims of the chemical in the form of Agent Orange, which caused cancer and a variety of genetic deformities.

Despite protests from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommended to "deregulate" new varieties of GM corn and soybeans on Aug. 6.

The recommendation is particularly of concern due to a report by EWG which discovered that nearly 500 elementary schools in the U.S. are located within just 200 feet of a corn or soybean field, leaving young children susceptible to herbicide exposure.

The EWG says children under 12 are most at risk for developing health complications from exposure to Enlist Duo. A study by the University of Minnesota found that young children raised on farms that used 2,4-D on their fields tested positive for higher levels of the pesticide in their bodies than older children.

Dow argues that environmentalists aren't really concerned about elementary schools being exposed to pesticides, or else they'd acknowledge that Enlist Duo actually lessens "drift events," which occur when the wind carries pesticides beyond their target.

However, according to the EPA's risk assessment, other formulations of 2,4-D drifted more than 1,000 feet beyond their targets.

Ohio ranks number one on the list of schools located within 200 feet of cropland growing corn or soybeans. Enlist Duo is expected to first be released in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin, home to 40 percent of elementary schools closely located to corn or soy crops.

Despite health risks, government agencies side with chemical companies

In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to allow Dow to sell Enlist Duo, which would result in up to a seven-fold increase in the use of the toxic pesticide 2,4-D, which has been linked to Parkinson's disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers.

If the Obama Administration approves the EPA's recommendation, it would result in the largest expansion of an herbicide use in more than three decades.

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service also said they wanted to reduce restrictions on the new seeds genetically engineered to resist glyphosate and 2,4-D, allowing Dow to sell the seeds in tandem with Enlist Duo.

The USDA and EPA plan to announce whether or not they'll approve the new herbicide this fall, as reported by The Des Moines Register.

The continued use of pesticides to treat superweeds only enriches profits made by the "pesticide treadmill," said George Naylor, Center for Food Safety Board Member and Iowa corn and soybean farmer.

"Weed resistance is a major problem for farmers and we need a solution. This decision shows that the only options USDA is willing to consider are ones that lead to increased profits for chemical companies."

Other growers say the explosion and increased spraying of the new herbicide will have the greatest effect on farmers not growing GM crops or using 2,4-D.

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