Now, scientists at DOW have developed genetically engineered corn and soybeans that can withstand the application of materials used in Agent Orange chemical weapons. To look into this and the cost-benefit analysis as well as the longer term implications of this type GMO, we've brought in Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch.
"One of the main reasons that crops have been genetically engineered" Lovera explains, "is so you can grow
the corn or the soybeans and they've been genetically engineered to survive being survived with a specific herbicide."
In this case, the herbicide is 2, 4-D, half of the notorious Agent Orange. The chemical is gaining popularity in use because weeds have grown resistant to many of the solutions currently in use, thus making sprayers seek out more lethal and toxic materials.
The problem with this, according to Lovera is manifold: runoff may take the herbicide into our drinking water, it may carry it to fields where non protected plants may suffer or die, and little independent testing has been done on the long term effects of these solutions to humans or to plant life.
"We know we're going to see more use of 2 4-D and that brings a lot of environmental hazards, a lot of health hazzards, and we just think it's the wrong approach in dealing with agriculture and the pressure they have with weeds."