Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–October 8, 2014. After headliners like genetically engineered (GE) Roundup-Ready corn and soybeans failed to deliver on claims of decreased pesticide use and environmental sustainability, instead leading to the rise of “superweeds,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved more dangerous, 2,4-D-resistent versions shortly after. Now after the predictable failure of Roundup-Ready cotton, USDA is set to approve dicamba-tolerant GE cotton, coming soon to a t-shirt near you. Feeling a bit itchy now?
Join us in telling USDA the solution to “superweeds” is NOT more GE crops and increased herbicide use! Act by October 10, at midnight!
USDA’s proposal to deregulate and allow into the environment yet another GE variety will inevitably lead to damaging effects on non-GE crops, native plant species, and environmental biodiversity. USDA acknowledges that the purpose of dicamba-tolerant cotton “is to provide growers with an additional in-crop weed management option to manage [glyphosate resistant] broadleaf weed species,” but introducing crops resistant to other chemical technologies like dicamba may provide short-term relief from resistant weeds, but is not a long-term, sustainable solution to burgeoning weed resistance. This current proposal also includes dicamba-tolerant soybean, as well as a stacked tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate.
Contrary to industry proclamations, providing these GE “tools” to farmers only keeps them on a perpetual chemical treadmill that continues to propagate resistant weeds, endanger our environment, health, and agricultural economy.
There is plenty about dicamba to be concerned about:
Increased use of dicamba will induce dicamba-resistant weeds, similar to what is currently seen with Roundup.
Dicamba vapor drift and subsequent crop injury to sensitive crops will be a frequent problem. Abnormal leaf growth and floral development, reduced yield, and reduced quality have all been observed from dicamba drift.
Severe economic consequences for non-GE and organic farmers can occur due to increased dicamba drift and GE contamination.
Dicamba has been detected in surface waters and is toxic to aquatic organisms.
Contamination of groundwater is possible as a result of dicamba’s high mobility in soils.
Studies have found that preconception exposure to dicamba was associated with increased risk of birth defects in male offspring. Dicamba has also been associated with a decrease in the ability to conceive, and cell death in developing embryos.
Dicamba has been observed to change sex hormone levels, indicating that it is an endocrine disruptor.
Beyond Pesticides believes that allowing new GE material into the environment against the backdrop of documented problems created by other herbicide-tolerant GE crops is taking U.S. agriculture in a wrong and hazardous direction. GE gene flow in the environment and increased herbicide dependency has been left unchecked for many years, resulting in an increasing population of resistant weeds and insects that are becoming more and more difficult and costly to control.
For more information on the environmental hazards associated with GE technology, visit Beyond Pesticides’ Genetic Engineering webpage. The best way to avoid genetically engineered foods in the marketplace is to purchase foods that have the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic seal. Under organic certification standards, genetically modified organisms and their byproducts are prohibited. For many other reasons, organic products are the right choice for consumers.
See the sample letter below and take time to gather your evidence. When you’re ready, click here to provide a unique public comment to USDA.
I am very concerned about this latest deregulation of dicamba-tolerant GE cotton and soybean. USDA continues to take American farmers down the path of increased reliance on GE crops in spite of mounting evidence that shows that these crops lead to increased herbicide use, environmental contamination, and resistant weeds.
The problem of Roundup-resistant weeds stems from years of over-reliance on Roundup as an easy, cheap herbicide tool for weed control. This spawned hundreds of weeds now no longer controlled by Roundup. However, the solution to the problem encountered by farmers in Roundup-resistant weeds should not involve the use of new varieties of GE crops and increased use of other herbicides.
Inevitably, increased use of dicamba will lead to dicamba-resistant weeds, water contamination, and economic harm to non-GE and organic farmers.
Monsanto and its industry partners are only interested in pushing their next product and increasing profits, not in the long-term health of the U.S. agricultural economy or farmers. Instead of approving another round of GE crops, technology that has been proven to fail farmers, agriculture and the environment, USDA should be encouraging farmers to return to more holistic methods of farming that include sustainable integrated methods for long-term weed management.
All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.