Despite nearly 400,000 petition signatures from concerned citizen, health professionals and farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a new generation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans, created by the biotech company Dow Agrosciences, that will tolerate the use of a new weed killer also engineered by Dow Agrosciences called Enlist Duo, which contains two known herbicides: 2, 4-D a component of the toxic Agent Orange herbicide used during the Vietnam War and glyphosate aka Roundup by Monsanto. The farmers are now able to spray their crops with either 2, 4-D or glyphosate or both to eliminate weeds without doing damage to the soybeans or corn. Serious health risks such as a the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, suppressed immune function, and cancer were ignored by USDA.
Research shows that there are almost 500 elementary schools within 200 feet of soybean and corn fields that are sprayed with toxic weed killers. Children are most susceptible to toxins and will face a great health risk by being exposed to toxic herbicides. Additionally, gardeners, farmers, and wildlife will all suffer from the use of Enlist Duo. Moreover, the increased use of weed killers triggers an epidemic of resistant superweeds. Superweeds infest roughly 70 million acres of U.S. farmland. Not to mention that corn is pollinated by wind, which makes contamination of non-GE corn inevitable. The only winners will be the corporations that control the pesticide and seed economy.
Anastasia Pantsios, “USDA Approves Controversial GMO Corn and Soy,” EcoWatch, September 18, 2014, http://www.care2.com/causes/usda-approves-controversial-gmo-corn-and-soy.html.
Mary Ellen Kustlin, “Elementary School Students At Increased Pesticide Risk,” Environmental Working Group, August 13, 2014, http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2014/08/elementary-school-students-increased-pesticide-risk.
Student Researcher: Stephanie Santiago (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)