Thursday, June 14, 2012

Controversy grows over 'Agent Orange corn'

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/FOX) - Food safety advocates are raising a red alert over what they call Agent Orange corn.

The problem surrounds a popular farming herbicide known as 2,4-D - one of the chemicals used to make Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

Critics fear farmers will use the herbicide in greater concentrations because of a new breed of corn that is resistant to the chemical.

"2,4-D has to go on a fairly young crop. It's a growth regulator," said farmer Ken Edmondson. "My take on it is it's nonsense. 2,4-D has been around forever. I do not buy into this theory that it's an Agent Orange kind of a compound."

Experts also believe the health risks linked to Agent Orange were caused by a different chemical, not 2,4-D.

The company that developed the new corn also insists the chemical is safe.

"You know, there are something like 4,500 studies and reports that are used to support ongoing uses of the product," said Garry Hamlin of Dow Agro Sciences.

The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition to ban 2,4-D in April.

A group of Vietnam vets has now teamed up with environmentalists to ask President Obama to look into the dangers of the herbicide.


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