Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We need more data on what's sprayed on food
I am so grateful that Humboldt County said "No to GMOs" with Measure P.
In an October 2014 decision, the Environmental Protection Agency approved "Enlist Duo" to be sprayed on genetically modified "Enlist Duo Ready" soybeans and corn. The adorable name, Enlist Duo, masks the seriousness of the ingredients. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup has been married to Dow Chemical's 2,4-D, a chemical comprising 50 percent of Agent Orange from the Vietnam War. The new herbicide is called "Enlist Duo."

Agent Orange has a history. The Veterans Administration has, after decades of losing litigation, finally compiled a list of the "presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange" for our Vietnam vets. The vets were late teens or adults when they were subjected to aerial spraying of Agent Orange. The list of "presumptive" diseases includes at least nine forms of cancer. The VA also acknowledges that Agent Orange is a mutagen, i.e. the vets' kids who were born with spina bifida have that condition resulting from their fathers' exposure to Agent Orange.
Although it appears to be true that the more toxic ingredient of Agent Orange was 2,4,5-T because of the creation of dioxins in the less than perfect manufacturing of it, it is also true that we cannot know for decades the long-term synergistic effects of all the chemicals comprising Enlist Duo on almost anything: nearby plants, soil organisms, pollinators, livestock, wildlife, gestating babies, growing children, or adults.
For folks who aren't sure of the differences between genetically modified organisms as food (GMO) and hybridized plants it is, crudely put, this. With hybridization, plants have been modified by crossing them with very similar plants e.g. different species within the same genus (e.g. two kinds of tomatoes or two kinds of Chrysanthemums) or crossing plants within the same Family of plants even though one may be a shrub and one a biennial (like the hot new perennial Digiplexis.)
With GMOs you are breaking the seeds' reluctance to admit intruders into their DNA from non-plant material (in Enlist Duo it would be a chemical compound) by inoculating them with DNA from bacteria, e.g. Agrobacterium tumefaciens or E-coli or even viruses. All of these have been used by GMO scientists for food crops to force the seeds to accept the herbicide in order that the plant ultimately becomes impervious to the herbicide. In addition, viruses are known mutagens. There is a reason these food crops are called GMOs — genetically modified organisms — since they are no longer strictly plant material.
Both Japan and Western Europe have mostly embargoed our GMO food products. They also have one tenth the autism rate that exists in the U.S. Perhaps they are less willing to diagnose autism or perhaps they suspect Roundup as a food additive. Since autism has skyrocketed here, wouldn't it be wise to look at probable causes?
Wouldn't it be prudent to reject 2,4-D as a food additive until all the data are in?

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