Environment, Social Implications in Agriculture, What is Organic

Help Stop the Toxic Treadmill

Pesticide SprayRecently the World Health Organization classified Glyphosate, the world’s most widely sprayed herbicide as a possible carcinogen. The reaction around the world was swift, everywhere but here in the US, government agencies began banning the herbicide while companies pulled glyphosate from their shelves. As a result of bad press, and the fact that glyphosate doesn’t work well anymore, the chemical companies began a new strategy. They’ve introduced new toxic technologies to combat the problem they created.

There’s a new array of toxic chemicals coming to our food, fields, and towns and they’re about to become even more prolific thanks to GMO technology opening the gates. Chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto are promising new “solutions” with an array of even more lethal concoctions

The simple facts are pretty blatant. We are on a crash course of massive chemical applications in agriculture, chemicals that are making us sick and, with heavier and heavier usage, becoming less effective. In my previous Blog “The Demise of Glyphosate” I explain that most genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are altered so they can withstand heavy applications of herbicide use and not be harmed. More than 15 years since their introduction about 90% corn, soy, and cotton in the U.S. are genetically modified just for this purpose. Weeds do not remain docile. More herbicide use creates a superweed with high tolerance points resulting in a 25 percent increase in the amount of herbicides being sprayed on U.S. fields each year! These superweeds are like science fiction, growing at an alarming rate across over 60 million acres of US farmland.

In September 2014, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  recommended that the agency deregulate Dow AgroSciences’ genetically modified 2,4-D- and glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybean seeds. These new GMO crops can now withstand a new technology called Duo Enlist which combines 2,4-D and Glyphosate.

The National Corn Growers Association applauded EPA’s deregulation of the new herbicide 2,4-D last October. Their growers were spending money and time spraying the old continuously with no results. They said “It is clear the EPA has gone above and beyond to ensure the safe use of this product.”

Doctors and Scientists claim that 2,4-D has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease and thyroid problems. Then in June, the World Health Organization classified 2,4-D as a possible carcinogen along with glyphosate. “This decision was based on evidence that it causes cancer in animals and indicates the strength of the evidence that it does cause cancer in humans.”

The chemical treadmill continues. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) along with the USDA conjecture that 2,4-D could more than triple by 2020, exposing communities near 2,4-D-resistant-crops to eight times as much of the chemical as today. Their research also displays that more than 5,600 schools are within 200 feet of farm fields and would be blanketed by 2,4-D.  As a result, hundreds of thousands of children would be exposed to more intense concentrations of the toxic defoliant than is the case today.

It is only a matter of time when these new technologies will create a new genre of superweeds. Is the answer really then, new genetically modified plants and chemicals to combat weeds created by the overuse of these same technologies? Should we be increasing the toxicity of materials we spray on our food?

Is all this herbicidal warfare really in the name of “Safe and Affordable Food”? That’s what their narrative says. Or is it truly to increase the profits of the agriculture giants patenting these methods and keeping our farmers enslaved on a treadmill of toxic chemicals and seeds they cannot call their own.

Organic is the only safe option, and affordable should be measured over time when it comes to long-term health.

USDA OrganicEvery time you purchase an organic product, food or textile, you are keeping one farmer off the chemical treadmill. You are paving the way for a new farmer to enter an organic field by supporting the organic market. Organic farmers use biodiversity, soil fertility and mechanical techniques to deal with problems in their fields. They are not beholden to chemical giants or seed patents to produce the food that we eat. Buy organic, wear organic, and change the paradigm in our food and fields.


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