Moms and food activists have been fighting genetically modified foods for years. Now, they have a new ally.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) sent a letter to President Obama just before Memorial Day asking for his assistance in delaying approval of a new breed of corn that’s genetically modified to resist heavy applications of the herbicide 2,4-D, one of the two active ingredients in the infamous Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange.
The corn and 2,4-D are both being manufactured by Dow Agro Science, which has named its new corn “Enlist,” a name the veterans said in the letter was “a slap at all Vietnam veterans.” Multinational seed company Monsanto also manufactures 2,4-D.
Most of the health problems caused by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War have been attributed to unintended dioxin contamination of the two active ingredients, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Dioxin builds up in the fatty tissue of humans and animals and can cause damage for years after exposure. The government continues to add to the known health conditions related to Agent Orange’s dioxin poisoning, but currently they include diabetes, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, liver dysfunction, numerous cancers, and birth defects in the children of exposed soldiers and Vietnam residents. Studies in recent years have found that 2,4-D is just as likely to be contaminated with dioxin when used alone as it was when used in combination with 2,4,5-T.
Adding to that danger, 2,4-D itself has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cell damage, hormonal disruption, and reproductive problems, according to the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this year in an effort to ban the substance permanently. The EPA denied the NRDC’s petition.
“Although there is a lot that science has learned about the effects of dioxin on the human organism, there is still a lot that science has yet to learn,” writes VVA. “Now, Dow and Monsanto wish to release genetically modified corn that has increased resistance to 2,4-D. What will this mean to Vietnam vets, who have already been exposed to this chemical through our military service? To our progeny?”
The group’s letter went on to state that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) conclusion that 2,4-D–resistant corn would have no “significant” impact on the environment was inaccurate and “raises more questions than it answers.” The vets are asking President Obama to push for more research by independent scientists, not those affiliated with Dow Agro Sciences.
“We are not calling for a complete ban of this new product at this time,” the group writes. “We are simply not willing to be lied to or withheld information from again. Vietnam veterans were lied to about our exposure to chemicals which claimed many lives long after our troops left Southeast Asia.”
The VVA isn’t alone in its attempts to get Obama’s attention. Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, another group made up of veterans’ children who were impacted by dioxin poisoning and Agent Orange, is endorsing the California ballot initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified ingredients. That initiative will be voted on in the November 2012 election.
The USDA has closed the public comment period on Dow’s 2,4-D–resistant corn, but the nonprofit Center for Food Safety continues to pressure the EPA to ban 2,4-D altogether. Take a minute to sign the center’s petition and to protect your family from the potential for more toxic pesticide exposure.
Originally Posted On Infinitymuscle.com