Admitting the Failure of ‘Roundup Ready’ Crops, Dow Plans Further Genetic Mutation
2,4-D Will Be Herbicide of Choice for Farmers if Bio-Tech Company Gets Its Way
While freely admitting the failure of food crops genetically modified to resist the weed killer known as Roundup, Dow AgroSciences announced it now plans to genetically modify crops to resist an even more toxic weed killer by the year 2013.
In a statement released last week, the nearly $5 billion company was blunt: “Weeds have adapted (to Roundup), becoming even more difficult to control, resulting in a decline of herbicide performance . . .”
Rather than revert to more natural farming techniques that sustained the planet’s food supply until 1996, Dow’s planned solution is to genetically modify crops to resist the weed killer 2,4-D — which has exponentially more toxicity to mammals than Roundup. Whereas Roundup’s toxicity is more subtle in the soil and body, 2,4-D has immediate acute impacts as well as longer-term issues: http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/programs/health-environment/pesticides/2-4-D-overview.pdf.
In genetically modifying food crops to resist 2,4-D, bio-technology companies such as Monsanto and Dow are addressing the growing failure of Roundup, which has shown myriad side effects in farming including: 1) increased weed resistance and mutation of “super weeds;” 2) increased soil diseases; 3) decreased yields; and 4) human and planetary health issues. Initially formulated for weed control in 1947, 2,4-D was 50 percent of the ingredients in Agent Orange known for its massive destructiveness in the Vietnam era. Many farmers and environmentalists see the potential additional spraying of more 2,4-D in future years as a deepening doomsday scenario.
“Clearly Roundup is failing and recent revelations about the health implications of Roundup has the bio-tech industry absolutely freaking out,” said mid-western farmer Robert Smith. “For Dow to put out this press release now, a full two years before the arrival of the 2,4-D genetically modified crops hit the market, is a preemptive business move for them. In other words, they’re saying to investors, ‘This product is failing, but we’ve got another one coming soon, so don’t panic even though your Roundup isn’t working.’”
Giving those of us in the environmental community a two-year notice, however, can only be seen as a good thing. That means we have 24 months to convince government regulators, farmers and the general public that this is yet another really, really bad idea.