Tuesday, January 31, 2012


by Tom Lent
A manufacturer of PVC pipe, vinyl siding and other building and consumer products is now reportedly the number one source of dioxin releases in the country. A recent assessment of the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory, by the Institute for Southern Studies identified Westlake Vinyls in Calvert City, KY as the worst dioxin polluter in 2010, reporting releases of over 14,000 grams -- more than 31 pounds -- of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds to surface waters in 2010 alone. Dioxins are among the most potent toxicants known to science, very persistent and bioaccumulative with health concerns including cancer and reproductive toxicity. Current European exposure limits range as low as 1 picogram per kilogram of body weight per day - one-trillionth of a gram. The EPA is expected to suggest even lower limits in its long awaited upcoming dioxin reassessment.

Westlake reports that it “is an integrated manufacturer of PVC pipe. Other end uses include pipe fittings, vinyl sidings, bottles, flexible and rigid film and sheeting used for packaging, credit cards and wall coverings.”

Tom Lent is a researcher with the Pharos Project and the policy director of the Healthy Building Network.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Herbicide-tolerant Corn Subject of Regulation Debate

Dow wants regulations lifted for its herbicide-tolerant corn, but sustainable-ag organizations say the product threatens agricultural traditions and personal and environmental health.
By Abby Tripp, Hobby Farms Assistant Editor
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is considering a petition by Dow Agrosciences to deregulate a corn genetically engineered for herbicide tolerance. The corn, which is engineered to resist several grass and broadleaf herbicides, including 2,4-D, would be marketed as part of Dow’s Enlist weed-control system.

Dow’s petition for deregulation comes on the heels of the company’s November 2011 announcement of the successful production of 2,4-D choline in a commercial scale-up setting. According to company spokesperson Garry Hamlin, the new formula has a leg up on earlier iterations of the herbicide, which used amines or esters. While Hamlin says it’s just as effective as its precursors, he adds that 2,4-D choline boasts “better characteristics [and is] less prone to drift and less prone to volatize.” This is a boon for diversified operations, he explains, because it decreases the likelihood of “particularly susceptible crops,” such as grapes and cotton, from coming into contact with the herbicide.
READ MORE: http://www.hobbyfarms.com/farm-industry-news/2012/01/27/herbcide-tolerant-corn-subject-of-regulation-debate.aspx

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dow Chemical Company proposes rule in the Federal Register allowing 2,4-D genetically modified corn

Dow Chemical Company has proposed a rule in the Federal Register that would allow 2,4-D genetically modified corn.
Let us look at some factors on 2 ,4-D.
First of all, 2,4-D has been found to be toxic in many animal studies. Second, there is suggestive evidence that 2,4-D may be carcinogenic to humans. A prime example is the cases of non Hodgkins Lymphoma.
This is also true in Parkinsons disease. (See TANNER, et al, Archives of Neurology, vol 66 (9), p. 1106-1113, 2009 Third,) 2,4-D composed half of the deadly herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam. Fourth, the chemical industry claims that the deadly dioxin (TCDD), which was contained in Agent Orange, is not contained in 2,4-D. However, studies from Germany and Australia suggest that trace amounts of TCDD has been found in 2,4-D.
One fact is sure and that is that 2,4-D does contain other less toxic dioxins as outlined by EPA. The other half of Agent Orange, which was 2,4,5-T has been banned for many years. I think it is time to ban 2,4-D not get the product near food. To get 2,4-D near food is a slap in the face to Vietnam Veterans.

Faithfully submitted.
George Claxton

Dioxin down South

Here's another feather in Koch Industries' cap: Its Georgia Pacific wood products and plastics plant at Crossett is the 19th worst emitter of dioxin in the country, according to a report released by Facing South today.

Naturally, the South bears the brunt of dioxin producing plants, so eager are we to take any industry we can get: Of the top 30 polluters, 25 are in the South, according to data in the study, which dates to 2010. The list is included in the report, titled "Dumping Dioxin on Dixie."

From the story:

Environmental dioxin pollution has been declining since the 1970s, but the EPA says current exposure levels "remain a concern." That's why the agency has undertaken a reassessment of the chemicals' effects on human health. The EPA has said it would release the non-cancer portion of the reassessment this month, with the cancer portion to follow "as expeditiously as possible." The reassessment has been delayed for decades amid political pressure from industry.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dumping dioxin on Dixie

As environmental health advocates call on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to release a long-awaited report on the health impact of dioxins, an analysis by Facing South finds that Southern communities bear a disproportionate burden of industrial dioxin pollution.

A class of toxic chemicals that persist in the environment and build up in the food chain, dioxins have been linked to a host of health problems including immune-system damage, hormone disruption and cancer -- and at very low levels of exposure. Environmental dioxin pollution has been declining since the 1970s, but the EPA says current exposure levels "remain a concern."

That's why the agency has undertaken a reassessment of the chemicals' effects on human health. The EPA has said it would release the non-cancer portion of the reassessment this month, with the cancer portion to follow "as expeditiously as possible." The reassessment has been delayed for decades amid political pressure from industry.

READ MORE: http://www.southernstudies.org/2012/01/dumping-dioxin-on-dixie.html

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More Ships Added to List of Vessels with Agent Orange Risk

Posted January 23rd, 2012 by USNavySeals
Forty-seven vessels have recently been added by the Department of Veterans Affairs to the list of Navy and Coast Guard ships whose crews may have potentially been exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange.

These vessels included the hospital ship Repose, as well as the transport ship General R.M. Blatchford. Former service members who served aboard this ships – and more than 200 others who are included in the VA database from 1962 to 1975 – may be eligible for disability compensation.

The VA provides disability compensation for eligible Veterans, as well as their survivors, for 14 medical conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange.

The online inventory of ships is updated periodically, after Veterans or VA staff are able to provide or find proof that a vessel moored, operated close to shore, or traversed an inland waterway, thereby risking exposure of its crew to the toxic herbicide.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Urgent Action! Sign our Dioxin Letter to EPA

We need your help now. For over 25 years, the EPA’s report on dioxin has been delayed time after time due to pressure by the chemical industry. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals known to science and is building up in our bodies.

The EPA is on the verge of finalizing a crucial part of their dioxin study, which they’ve pledged to do by the end of this month. Help us make sure they keep their promise!

TAKE ACTION – Sign our letter to EPA!

Dioxin is a potent cancer-causing chemical. Almost every man, woman and child in the U.S. has potentially harmful levels of this carcinogen in their bodies. Even babies are born pre-polluted with dioxin.EPA needs to hear from you because dioxin has been linked to health problems in children and adults including learning disabilities, endometriosis, decreased fertility, birth defects, cancer, and more.

We need your help today because the chemical industry, led by the American Chemistry Council, is doing all they can to get the EPA to back down.

We need to get thousands of people to sign our letter, which we will send to EPA next week.

Edward J. Derwinski, first secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, dies


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

from The Egyptian Gazette
The US Veterans Administration (VA) recognises a wide range of birth defects as associated with women Veterans' service in Vietnam. These diseases are not tied to herbicides, including Agent Orange, or dioxin exposure, but rather to the birth mother's service in Vietnam.
“Children are our future. We have all heard that common saying.
What is the future of the children of Vietnam veterans and other veterans with toxic, service-related exposures?”, stated a position report by the Agent Orange and Other Toxic Substances Subcommittee, dated January 14, 2010.
“There is a growing realisation that both maternal and paternal toxic exposures play a role in the birth defects of the children and future generations of the exposed individuals. Research in the field of epigenetics also points towards toxic exposures turning on or off genes that, when passed on to the child, could lead to the onset of diseases later in life”, the report added.
“We now know that when we send service members in harm's way, battlefields toxins also place the future offspring of those service members in harm's way. Background: The VA recognises only one birth defect, spina bifida (a developmental congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonicneural tube), in the children of both male and female Vietnam veterans.
"The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded in its 1996 update to its report on Veterans and Agent Orange-Health Effects of Herbicides Used in Vietnam that there is limited/suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam and spina bifida in children of Vietnam veterans."
"In 2000, Dr. Han Kang (referred to in the previous article of this series) and the VA's Environmental Epidemiology Service of the Veterans Health Administration published a study that estimating the risk of birth defects as significant."
As a result of these findings, the VA now funds assistance programs for spina bifida in the children of male or female Vietnam veterans and for all birth defects without other known causes in the children of female veterans. Children born to female Vietnam veterans who meet certain requirements may be eligible for compensation, vocational training, rehabilitation, and health care benefits.

Waikato researchers & Ngāti Awa find hope for poisoned land

16 January 2012

Waikato researchers and Ngāti Awa find hope for contaminated land

University of Waikato researchers have found fungi and plants that can reduce dioxins in contaminated land by up to 85%.

Waikato University Biological Sciences Professor Roberta Farrell and research associate Dr Joanne Thwaites Kelly have been working with Massey University scientist Dr Chris Anderson, Environment Bay of Plenty, S.I.G. (formerly Carter Holt Harvey) and iwi Ngāti Awa since 2009 to restore sites around Whakatane that were contaminated by pentachlorophenol (PCP) and dioxins between 1950 and the early 1980s.

Researchers have found a combination of fungi in the soil and subsequent planting of poplar trees has reduced the toxicity equivalent quotient, which measures both concentration and toxicity of the dioxins, in sediment taken from the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane, by 85% within 15 months.

PCP was used in sawmills to stop sap-staining or blue stain in wood, but its by-product, dioxins, are harmful to people, animals, and everything in the ecosystem, says Professor Farrell.

Some workers of the old Whakatane sawmill died and others continue to suffer side-effects of PCP exposure.

For 30 years the Kopeopeo Canal received surface run-off and storm water from PCP producers and remains a contaminated site.

Today more than 36 sites around Whakatane are still contaminated and former mill employees and iwi have joined forces with the universities, EBoP and S.I.G. to find ways to degrade the toxins.

“We looked at soil in contaminated sites for fungi, thinking that if a fungus was present in the soil and growing it would be resistant to the PCP and dioxins. We had the hypothesis that we could use these fungi to mediate the soil,” says Professor Farrell.

Thirty tonnes of contaminated sediment from the Kopeopeo Canal were excavated and various fungal and plant combinations were tested in the two year programme, funded by the Health Research Council, and led by Ngāti Awa.

The best combination for reduction of dioxins was the sediments incubated with fungi and consequently planted in poplar trees.

“The one thing we need to do now is look at what fungi work best,” says Professor Farrell. “We are running experiments at the moment and should know within the first quarter of 2012.”

The programme also looked at how Māori and iwi will consider the final bioremediated soils.

“They want the land to be useable again for kai and that is our target as well, to get dioxin levels to zero and be able to have food grown in the bioremediated soil.”


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Speaking of Monsanto, Herbicides have no place in home garden care

Pam Peirce
Sunday, January 15, 2012

Q: In a recent column (Nov. 13) you answered a reader who was reluctant to use the herbicide Roundup to combat Japanese anemone. Why? Is it poisonous? I thought it was a salt that got into the plant root and destroyed it. I found it great to control my neighbor's bamboo from invading my yard. I cut the stalk when approximately 18-24 inches tall, then squirt some Roundup down the hole in the stalk. Within a week or so, the bamboo dies. (Until another stalk shoots up!)

A: All pesticides are poisonous to the pests they are intended to kill. And most of them are also poisonous to unintended targets, such as wildlife and humans. The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is not the most toxic herbicide, but it's responsible for a high number of California pesticide poisoning reports, probably because it is so widely used.

Exposure can cause nausea, sore throat, dizziness and injury to gastrointestinal or respiratory tracts. Eye contact with some formulations causes severe, though temporary, eye problems. Long-term toxicity is still being studied, but there is no longer confidence that it won't cause cancer, mutations or reproductive problems.

Glyphosate is not very toxic to insects but is toxic to aquatic wildlife and amphibians. Some of the inert ingredients that may be used in glyphosate herbicide formulations are much more poisonous to humans and wildlife than the glyphosate itself.

This is a nonselective herbicide, meaning it kills most kinds of plants. Spray that drifts to desirable plants will harm or kill them. It is a "salt" in the chemical sense of a combination of a metal or a base with an acid, but it is not a simple compound like table salt. Instead, it is a complex chemical created to kill plants by preventing the creation of essential amino acids.

A discussion of glyphosate is complicated by the actions of its original patent holder, Monsanto. This company created bioengineered crops that survive Roundup and sells both crop seeds and herbicide. This has resulted in a vast increase of Roundup use, increasing pollution, and aiding the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds.

Monsanto's actions have infuriated organic farmers and those who want to eat organic food because the genes that create the resistance have been carried by pollen to organic crops, thus rendering them uncertifiable, and Monsanto even sues those who inadvertently plant contaminated seeds.

Because of its financial interests, Monsanto mounted a vigorous campaign to convince us that Roundup was not an environmental or health hazard. As a garden writer I have been, over the years, bombarded with Monsanto literature about Roundup's virtues and harmlessness. Opponents have also put a great deal of energy into publicizing its hazards. The truth is somewhere in between - there are herbicides with far worse environmental and health hazards, others with less.

I don't think that any herbicide should be necessary in the ordinary care of a garden. Mulching, pulling and digging work fine for most weeds in gardens that get regular maintenance. For weeds growing in cracks of pavement, boiling water can help. There are some "least-toxic" herbicides, such as ones based on clove oil, vinegar or soaps. These kill the tops of plants, but do not translocate to the roots, so perennials tend to regrow after treatment.

Those who use Roundup, or glyphosate herbicide under another brand name, favor it for its low toxicity profile among herbicides that kill the weed root as well as its top. I do not advocate using it; if you do use it, I suggest you follow label directions carefully and also apply it in as small an area as possible, such as by spraying or painting individual plants. Broadcast spraying is more likely to harm unintended creatures.

The most effective nonchemical solution for the invading bamboo would be a 30- to 36-inch deep root barrier made of polypropylene that's 40mm to 60mm thick (roughly 1.5 inches to 2.3 inches thick). After using a rented power tool to dig a trench, angle the top of the barrier farther from the bamboo than the bottom. Install a continuous piece or follow manufacturer's directions for joining pieces tightly. Leave an aboveground lip of 2 to 4 inches. Pack the soil on the bamboo side back in firmly, then concentrate on digging out the disconnected shoots that remain on your side.

If a root barrier is not doable, dig a trench 8 to 10 inches deep and a foot wide at the edge of your property. Fill it with loose mulch and search through it at least twice a year to remove any rhizomes growing into it.

Do note that poisoning bamboo shoots from your neighbor's yard with a translocating herbicide might kill their plants, which could lead to a lawsuit.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/13/HO811MKQET.DTL#ixzz1jYQZKsdp

Friday, January 13, 2012

Volatile dioxin debate rages as congressman attacks EPA radio silence

A senior congressman has hit back at what he claims is industry pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and also attacked it for two decades of perceived food-dragging over its health reassessment of dioxin.


USDA Quietly Approves More GE Corn, Considering Key Agent Orange Ingredient


SustainableBusiness.com News

Over the holidays, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its approval of a novel strain of Monsanto genetically engineered (GE) corn, because it's purportedly "drought tolerant."

And the USDA is considering approval for corn produced by Dow AgroSciences that's been genetically engineered to resist the poisonous herbicide 2,4-D, the key ingredient in Agent Orange!

It's also considering a new soybean from Monsanto that's got more omega 3 fatty acids than naturally occur in soybeans. A public comment period for both is now open (see below).

The USDA approved Monsanto's corn even though it received only 23 comments in favor of it and nearly 45,000 public comments opposing it. It can now be freely released into the environment and American food supply, without any governmental oversight or safety tracking.

"This is just the latest in a string of approvals of GE crops. It's clear the Obama Administration doesn't have the courage to stand strong against the powerful agribusiness and biotechnology lobbies," says Mark Kastel, of The Cornucopia Institute.
READ MORE: http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/23302

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Open Letter to Shareholders of Monsanto


As you prepare to study the various resolutions for the coming annual general meeting of your company, being held in St Louis 24th January 2012, I ask you to take into consideration the history of your company and the policies you have supported at various annual general meetings.

It is a record that very few can be proud of. For example, can you as a shareholder be proud, even satisfied, that your company has been responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Vietnamese, many thousands of abnormal births in Vietnam, and today in Vietnam due to the product manufactured by your company, you have left four million Vietnamese suffering from various illnesses and deformities, and thousands of acres of once magnificent forests destroyed. The product was of course Agent Orange.

At the time you attend the shareholders meeting it will be fifty-one-years ago that Agent Orange was first sprayed over Southern areas of Vietnam, 10th August 1961. It is well recorded by international scientists and researchers from a number of countries – and includes the US – what the effects of Agent Orange has had on the people and land of Vietnam.

There has been and continues to be massive information about the effects of Agent Orange, and not only on the Vietnamese, ask the Vietnam Veterans from the US, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, who served in Vietnam, for many of them were also affected by Agent Orange. Many of these veterans are still campaigning in their respective countries for their illnesses to be recognized by their Government as being related to Agent Orange. Yes, it is a fact that not all the US veterans have been accepted as suffering from Agent Orange. Many have died, as have others, denied a pension or compensation for serving their country.

Their relatives could be amongst the many outside the annual general meeting on 24th January seeking answers to the questions they want to raise with your Chairman Mr Hugh Grant and members of your board. You will see them when you walk into the meeting. Please do not avoid them, but stop and listen to their questions, and please answer if you can.

Let me remind you that eighty-million liters of Agent Orange was sprayed on Southern Vietnam and this was carried out over a period of ten-years. And your company has for these fifty-one years refused to accept responsibility and has also refused to make any compensation to the Vietnamese. The word Sorry has not come from the lips of your Chairman, not has one cent come from the $billions of profit made from Agent Orange indeed, it has been you the shareholder that has benefited, in the dividends you have received over the years.

Perhaps among you at the AGM will be Bill and Melinda Gates, it would be interesting to hear if they make any statement that they are satisfied with the record of your company, having purchased 500,000 shares. Perhaps they will seek to ask how they can help Monsanto in its campaign to increase its sales of GM Seeds world-wide, another Monsanto product that has cost the lives of thousands of Indian Farmers who were forced into debt through the failure of their GM crops. And outside the meeting will be American farmers who do not want GM Seeds but a number of them have been taken to court by your company to protect its sales and in turn its profits and your dividends. Are you really proud of your company, one that has cost so many lives, has ruined the lives of so many others in many countries?

I hope you will consider the content of this letter, written by a person who has traveled to Vietnam for the past twenty-years and has seen the horrors of the legacy your company Monsanto has left to the people and land.

In my years of traveling there I have seen babies, youngsters, teenagers and adults crippled and in many cases minus limbs, eyes etc through being affected by Agent Orange. Remember also this: the Vietnamese affected and aged under forty-years, would have been born after the spraying ended in 1971 and amongst them are the fourth generation. So the suffering continues, generation after generation after generation, that is the legacy your company has brought on the people of Vietnam.

So, when it comes to cast your votes, for who, and for what, will you vote?
Len Aldis. Chairman
Agent Orange Action Group
Flat 2, 26 Tomlins Grove
London E3 4NX



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Food Industry Wants to Keep Dioxins in Your Dinner: Report

It's always good to know that the people who raise the nation's livestock and sow the country's crops really want to put health first. Or not.

A group of top U.S. food producers has recently protested the Food and Drug Administration's upcoming demands for tougher dioxin limits in nutritional staples, according to Food Safety News. Dioxins and similar chemicals have been linked to reproductive problems and cancer in lab animals.

Though some dioxins occur naturally, they can enter the environment through industrial activities such as trash incineration, the website reports. Research indicates that humans get most of their dioxin exposure from food.

The group of U.S. food giants worries that the soon-to-come FDA guidelines -- which might set the "safe" level of dioxin exposure at 0.7 picograms daily, compared with the World Health Organization's 1-4 recommended daily picograms -- would make most agricultural products in the country "unfit for consumption."
READ MORE: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad/2012/01/food_industry_w.php

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Agent Orange: A Tragic Legacy

Until the US govt and the responsible corporations are held accountable in this bioterrorism war crime, victims will continue to be overlooked
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In an effort to help tip the scales for the United States during the Vietnam War, Agent Orange was developed by biotechnological companies in order to help clear dense fields, giving soldiers a clearer vision of their targets. Along with the loss of vegetation, the was an additional hope that Vietnamese farmers would relocate to U.S. occupied cities, and no longer be able to grow and provide for the Vietnamese troops.

It was known as Operation Ranch Hand and lasted from 1962 to 1971; during this time, the United States military dropped millions of gallons of this synthetic herbicide over large areas of the country—spraying some areas multiple times over. It was named Agent Orange after the colored bands that were used to mark the drums that it was stored in (others were considered Agent White, Blue, Pink, Green, and Purple).

And with the effectiveness of the chemical, came a life threatening by-product, dioxin.

According to the American Cancer Society, the particular dioxin contained in Agent Orange is “one of the most toxic” man-made chemicals existing today—a weapon no doubt. High levels of dioxin rained down on the land and people of Vietnam, becoming absorbed in the soil and contaminating it completely during the war and for generations to come.

In one of the most obvious displays of chemical warfare, Agent Orange has left a debilitating mark on hundreds of thousands of people, both Vietnamese and Americans alike. In the 50 years since its first use, various types of cancer (including prostate and leukemia) birth defects, and other high-risk diseases have been cropping up from one generation to the next. And that is not the least of it.

READ MORE: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/january062012/ao-legacy-kh.php

Ruling leaves dioxin cleanup out of Monsanto trial

This was what the Monsanto Co. chemical plant in Nitro looked like in 1980.
By Ken Ward Jr.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the trial begins in a major toxic pollution lawsuit against Monsanto Co., jurors won't be allowed to tackle a key issue: Should the company pay to clean up dioxin it allegedly spewed across the city of Nitro?

Experts won't testify about the need for property remediation. Lawyers won't argue about the issue. Jurors won't be asked to force Monsanto to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars such a project could cost.

Judges O.C. Spaulding and Derek Swope issued rulings in July and November that threw out that part of the case.

As a result, Putnam County jurors will decide only if current and former Nitro residents should receive medical monitoring to detect diseases potentially caused by exposure to Monsanto's dioxin. They won't be able to do anything to clean up homes and businesses, ending the toxic exposure.

READ MORE: http://sundaygazettemail.com/News/201201070062

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Toxic releases rose 16 percent in 2010, EPA says

By Juliet Eilperin, Published: January 5
The amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment nationwide in 2010 increased 16 percent over the year before, reversing a downward trend in overall toxic releases since 2006, according to a report released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The spike was driven largely by metal mining, but other sectors — including the chemical industry — also contributed to the rise in emissions, according to the new analysis from the annual federal Toxics Release Inventory.
Air releases of dioxin, which is linked to cancer as well as neurological and reproductive problems, rose 10 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the report. Other releases, such as landfill disposal, increased 18 percent.
Dioxins are formed as a byproduct of some processes with intense heat, such as smelting and recycling metals. The 2010 increase stemmed largely from the hazardous-waste-management and mining industries, according to the EPA.
READ MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/toxic-releases-rose-16-percent-in-2010-epa-says/2012/01/05/gIQAhbTpdP_story.html

U.S. judge OKs alfalfa strain made by Monsanto Co.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/07/BUBT1MM1DH.DTL Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, January 7, 2012
A federal judge has upheld the government's decision to let the nation's alfalfa growers plant the genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant strain manufactured by Monsanto Co., saying the alleged risk of contaminating other crops does not require regulators to impose buffer zones.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the use of Roundup Ready alfalfa - so named because it is designed to withstand Monsanto's Roundup herbicide - in January 2011, ending a nationwide ban that another judge had imposed in March 2007.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/06/BUBT1MM1DH.DTL#ixzz1inUV7xJf

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Senate Bill S. 1629 - S. 1629: Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011

A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY]
Lindsey Graham [R-SC]
Amy Klobuchar [D-MN]
Barbara Mikulski [D-MD]

Status: This bill is in the first step in the legislative process. Explanation: Introduced bills and resolutions first go to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise them before they go to general debate. The majority of bills and resolutions never make it out of committee. [Last Updated: Dec 9, 2011 6:24AM]

Monday, January 2, 2012

US govt. urged to deregulate Agent Orange-resistant crops

A key chemical of one of the most horrifying elements of the Vietnam War - Agent Orange - may soon be unleashed on America's farmlands.

Dow AgroScience, LLC, is petitioning the U.S. government to deregulate a genetically engineered variety of corn that is resistant to 2,4-D, an extremely toxic pesticide that was 50% of the recipe to making Agent Orange.

This is all admitted right out in the open in the federal register text:

“We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has received a petition from Dow AgroScience LLC seeking a determination of nonregulated status of corn designated as DAS-40278-9, which has been genetically engineered for increased resistance to broadleaf herbicides in the phenoxy auxin group (such as the herbicide 2,4-D) and resistance to grass herbicides in the aryloxyphenoxypropionate acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase inhibitor group (such as quizalofop herbicides)”.

The chemical pesticide group 2,4-D can cause acute toxicity and was a major component (roughly 50%) of Agent Orange, according to Cornell University.

Rats fed 2,4-D produced "fetuses with abdominal cavity bleeding and increased mortality," which also states that 2,4-D may cause infertility, birth defects, organ toxicity and neurological effects. NaturalNews.com

Farmers, food industry challenge dioxin proposal

They say an EPA-proposed limit is too strict and could frighten consumers, thereby hurting sales.

WASHINGTON — Farmers and the food industry are trying to kill a proposed safety standard for dioxins, chemicals that can cause cancer and are widely found in meat, seafood and dairy products.

Industry groups say a daily exposure limit for dioxin proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency isn’t justified and could unnecessarily scare consumers away from meat and milk products. An individual could ingest more than the proposed daily limit of dioxin in a single meal, the groups say.

“The implications of this action are chilling,” they said in a recent letter to the White House. “EPA is proposing to create a situation in which most U.S. agricultural products could arbitrarily be classified as unfit for consumption.”

The proposed standard would not by itself trigger any regulations on farmers or food companies, but the government could later recommend measures, including restrictions on the content of livestock feed, to reduce the amount of dioxins that people could consume.

READ MORE: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20111221/BUSINESS/312210066/1012/NEWS11/?odyssey=nav|head