Dow Chemical, the same company that brought us Dursban, Napalm, and Agent Orange, is now in the food business and is pushing for an unprecedented government approval: genetically engineered (GE) versions of corn and soybeans that are designed to survive repeated dousing with 2,4-D, half of the highly toxic chemical mixture Agent Orange.
Wide scale use of herbicides in tandem with GE crops has led to an epidemic of herbicide resistant weeds, and the next step in the chemical arms race is Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D, a chemical linked to major health problems including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, and reproductive problems.
Dow’s “Agent Orange” corn and soy will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use–and our exposure to this toxic herbicide–yet USDA has failed to investigate the potential harms caused by such an increase. This is part of a growing problem, an escalating chemical arms race going on across America’s heartland. Dow Chemical is hyping GE 2,4-D corn and soy as the solution to resistant weeds, but GE crop systems caused the “superweeds” in the first place. Like Roundup before it, 2,4-D is only a temporary solution that will require more and more toxic chemicals leaching into our environment and food supply.
Dow Chemical has a long history of producing products that cause serious harm to human health and the environment, yet they’ve rarely taken responsibility for those consequences. Dow Chemical is now involved in something fundamental to our lives—our food. And it’s bringing its dirty history and chemically intensive “solutions” with it. It’s time to tell Dow, “Enough is enough.”
No Accountability for Agent Orange
Agent Orange’s use was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 400,000 people and 500,000 birth defects in Vietnam. During this time, Rachel Carson publically denounced its main ingredients, noting that people exposed to 2,4-D when spraying it on their lawns had developed severe neuritis and even paralysis.
Dow Chemical’s Dursban Debacle
In 1965, Dow Chemical began marketing Dursban insecticides and other products with chlorpyrifos as the main ingredient. In 1995, Dow Chemical was fined roughly $800,000 by the EPA for withholding reports of over 250 chlorpyrifos poisoning incidents and in 2000, EPA recommended a ban on virtually all uses of Dursban in residential and commercial buildings in the U.S.
Union Carbide – Dow Chemical Buys a Toxic Killer
Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) was the majority owner of Union Carbide India, Ltd., operating a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. In 1984, the plant leaked toxic chemicals into the environment, killing an estimated 22,000 people, and leaving dangerous levels of pollution that continue to pose health risks to nearby communities. In 2001, UCC became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical. Dow Chemical and UCC maintain that they did not inherit any responsibility for Bhopal in the acquisition.
Dow Chemical Goes Nuclear at Rocky Flats
In 1949, Dow Chemical was contracted by the government to help build and manage the top secret Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Colorado, which manufactured the plutonium pit used as the explosive detonator for hydrogen bombs. Several accidents at the plant released radioactive materials into the environment, including fires in 1957 and 1969.
Dow Chemical Today: “Agent Orange Crops”
Dow Chemical has recently developed Genetically Engineered (GE) crops that are designed to survive dousing with a toxic herbicide called “2,4-D”, a major component of the Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange. Already 46 million pounds of 2,4-D is sprayed annually in the U.S. If these GE crops are approved, American agriculture will see a massive increase in toxic pesticide use, meaning more chemical toxins in our food and more pollution of our waterways and ecosystems.