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EPA approves ‘AGENT ORANGE’ despite links to diseases, human health, and the environment.


The Environmental Protection Agency has refused a petition that aims to ban the sale of a powerful pesticide linked with cancer.

RT – The Environmental Protection Agency has refused a petition that aimed to ban the sale of a powerful pesticide linked with cancer — and while already available, a surge in sales is expected as scientists ready a new crop resistant to the chemical.
Not only has the EPA rejected a petition that sought to prohibit the domestic sale of the dangerous 2,4-D pesticide — a key ingredient in Agent Orange — but the main manufacturer of the chemical predicts that sales will skyrocket in the coming months. The reason, it would seem, is that Dow Chemicals is awaiting federal approval of a genetically engineered crop they’ve created that will be resistant to 2,4-D.
If approved, farmers will be able to plant the frankencrop corn variant and douse their fields with the pesticide to eliminate unwanted weeds with greater success. Although 2,4-D isn’t currently used to a large degree on corn fields, all that could soon change for the country’s most successful crop. Opponents argue, though, that the potential side effects of the pesticide are enough to push for a ban on 2,4-D altogether.

Monsanto: a history

During the 1940s Monsanto also become a leading manufacturer of synthetic fibres and plastics, including polystyrene – ranked fifth in the EPA’s list of chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste. From the 1940s onwards Monsanto was one of the top 10 US chemical companies.
Following the Second World War, Monsanto championed the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture. Its major agrochemical products have included the herbicides 2,4,5-T, DDT, Lasso and Agent Orange, which was widely used as a defoliant by the U.S. Government during the Vietnam War and which was later shown to be highly carcinogenic. The Agent Orange produced by Monsanto had dioxin levels many times higher than that produced by Dow Chemicals, the other major supplier of Agent Orange to Vietnam. This made Monsanto the key defendant in the lawsuit brought by Vietnam War veterans in the United States, who faced an array of debilitating symptoms attributable to Agent Orange exposure. Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems of dioxin contamination of Agent Orange when it sold it to the U.S. government for use in Vietnam.
Agent Orange contaminated more than 3 million civilians and servicemen, and an estimated 500,000 Vietnamese children have been born with deformities attributed to Agent Orange, leading to calls for Monsanto to be prosecuted for war crimes. No compensation has been paid to Vietnamese civilians and though some compensation was paid to U.S. veterans, according to William Sanjour, who led the Toxic Waste Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “thousands of veterans were disallowed benefits” because “Monsanto studies showed that dioxin [as found in Agent Orange] was not a human carcinogen.” An EPA colleague discovered that Monsanto had apparently falsified the data in their studies. Sanjour says, “If [the studies] were done correctly, they would have reached just the opposite result.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental watch group, has argued that expose to 2,4-D has caused in some cases cancer, hormone disruption, genetic mutations and neurotoxicity, reports the New York Times. In voting not to hear the petition against the pesticide, however, the EPA says that they believe there to be a lack of evidence that would be significant enough to raise suspicion.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, the truth behind the toxicity of the chemical is quite the contrary.
“This dangerous pesticide is lurking all over the place – from ball fields and golf courses, to front lawns and farms – exposing an enormous amount of the American public to cancer and other serious health risks,”NRDC senior scientist Dr. Gina Solomon wrote earlier this year. “There’s no reason to continue allowing a toxic Agent Orange-ingredient in the places our children play, our families live and our farmers work. EPA must step up and finally put a stop to it.”
The NRDC is not alone in their opposition, either. The Center for Food Safety has also fought to ban the sale of 2,4-D as Dow develops their pesticide resistant-crop. “Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ corn will trigger a large increase in 2,4-D use — and our exposure to this toxic herbicide — yet USDA has not assessed how much, nor analyzed the serious harm to human health, the environment or neighboring farms,” the center’s executive director, Andrew Kimbrell, warns. “This novel corn will foster resistant weeds that require more toxic pesticides to kill, followed by more resistance and more pesticides — a chemical arms race in which the only winners are pesticide/biotechnology firms.” MORE AT SOURCE


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