Friday, July 11, 2014

Dow Chemical wants to use Agent Orange to kill invasive, nearly indestructible superweeds

Agent Orange could soon be coming to a farm near you. "Dow Chemical is seeking federal approval for an herbicide containing one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange" to be sprayed on superweeds that can't be killed by traditional herbicides and choke crops, Clare Foran reports for the National Journal. "The Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with reviewing Dow's application, says that if the chemical, known as 2,4-D, is used in fields, trace amounts could end up in food and drinking water." (Getty Images by Sean Gallup)

Critics say Agent Orange could damage the environment and create health concerns, but EPA appears to be leaning towards siding with the chemical company, Foran writes. "The agency has already unveiled a proposal to greenlight the chemical compound, and is expected to make a final decision as early as this summer. The debate hinges on two questions: Does Dow's weed whacker carry any of the health risks of the wartime weapon? And, long term, would the pesticide create a bigger problem: a new generation of stronger, even harder-to-kill superweeds?"

Dow says its product won't be tainted with the cancer-causing contaminant like the Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War, Foran writes. "But testing conducted by an Agriculture Department researcher using samples collected in the mid-1990s showed that the chemical that plays a starring role in Dow's product can still contain contaminants similar to those found in Agent Orange. The study concluded that there was a 'need for more investigation into possible human health effects.'" (Read more)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A friend who was a green beret in Vietnam, exposed to Agent Orange, died from liver cancer a couple of years ago.
We have followed the debate about the effects of Agent Orange closely. I'm wondering if his illness was ever counted in the statistics concerning the "health risks" of agent orange.
I was exposed to 2-4-D in a misuse of the chemical on a prep school lawn here in Hawaii. The headmaster had a permit for its use on another property for gorse. I was very sick from the exposure and have developed an intractable skin rash. My PCP and I monitor my liver function. I have never been contacted to be part of any study. In fact at the time of the exposure, the local hospital "lost my blood sample."
I don't trust the "science" coming from the chemical companies, universities funded by the chemical companies. And I would like to follow any funding stream going to Federal research. I think the cautionary principle should be followed here. The use of 2-4-D is dangerous to human and the web of life in the environment.
Constance Fay