Whether you are aware of it or not, your food, air and water are the battle ground upon which a titanic struggle between the multinational biotech corporations Monsanto and Dow AgroScience is now playing out. As a result, your health and environment (and that of all future generations) are at profound risk of irreparable harm.
Dow AgroSciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals) recently announced their development of genetically-engineered corn, soybean, and cotton plants metabolically resistant to the herbicide 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a major ingredient in Agent Orange. What this means for our future is that, if approved for use, vast regions of our country will soon be sprayed with a chemical that has been linked to over 400,000 birth defects in Vietnam.
How did we end up here?
History is repeating itself before our eyes. Dow Chemicals and Monsanto, joined at the karmic hip, both manufactured Agent Orange for use in Vietnam, and both are notorious for minimizing the adverse health effects associated with exposure to the agent. Neither corporation learned from its mistakes, largely because the US government underwrote the risk of using the chemical, and therefore shielded them from the bulk of the legal and financial fallout.
But this lack of culpability has now set up the conditions for a reliving of the horrors of systemic herbicide exposure, only this time on American soil, with Monsanto choosing glyphosate (also a birth-defect causing chemical), and Dow Chemical sticking with its old time favorite.
The two corporations are now pitched in a heated battle for dominance, as Monsanto's once global hegemony over genetically engineered staple crops like soy and corn began to falter, in the following four ways:
1) Roundup resistance, which was bioengineered into food crops, began spreading to a number of other plants (weeds), rendering Roundup ineffective, or requiring much higher (and therefore much more toxic) quantities.
2) Insects began to develop resistance to Monsanto's Bt gene, which was engineered into their plants as a "natural" insecticide, conferring theoretical resistance to Bt-sensitive pests.
3) Research on glyphosate, the major active ingredient in Roundup, which has been used at the rate of 80,000 tons in the US in 2007 alone, began to accumulate, linking it to dozens of serious adverse health.
4) Glyphosate was found to contaminate our air, food and groundwater.
Given these fatal flaws in Monsanto's once impenetrable armor, Dow AgroScience is positioning its new GE plants as a "next-generation" solution to the problems of glyphosate and Bt resistance. However, by engineering what amounts to Agent Orange-resistance into their "new and improved" crops the potential environmental and health fallout to exposed areas is nothing less than horrific. Do we need to view pictures of the victims of Agent Orange to be reminded of how toxic the ingredients in this herbicide are? (Warning: the images are graphic).