February 12, 2012
Agent Orange, produced by both Monsanto and Dow Chemicals, was used to defoliate jungles during the Vietnam War.
During that time, millions of gallons of the toxic chemical mixture were sprayed on trees and vegetation, and the aftermath left hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese sick, with countless numbers of their children suffering birth defects, and a still growing group of U.S. veterans with related diseases ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s disease.
Agent Orange was a horrific chemical concoction that never should have been used, and if you want to see some of its effects on children who were exposed in the womb, you can do so here — but I warn you the photos are very graphic and upsetting.
Agent Orange is no longer produced — so why am I bringing it up now?
Because Dow AgroSciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals), who was one of the original manufacturers of Agent Orange (AO), has developed a new generation of genetically modified (GM) crops — soybeans, corn and cotton — that are designed to resist a major ingredient in AO: the herbicide called 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).
The use of 2,4-D, however, is not new, as it is actually one of the most widely used herbicides in the world.
What is new – and disturbingly so – is that now that staple crops like soy and corn have been engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D, it may soon be applied to U.S. arable land on an unprecedented scale — not unlike its indiscriminate application during Vietnam.
The whole point of engineering resistance to an herbicide within a GMO plant, of course, is so that you can “carpet bomb” an entire field, leaving only your “Frankenfoods” standing, without having to exert even a fraction of the effort required raise crops organically and sustainably.
In fact, if 2,4-D resistant crops receive approval and eventually come to replace Monsanto’s failing Roundup-resistant crops as Dow intends, it is likely that billions of pounds will be needed, on top of the already insane levels of Roundup now being used (1.6 billion lbs were used in 2007 in the US alone!).