dioxin-killsAnother orange, Agent Orange, conjuring images of horrific death and suffering, is also in the news again as farming takes on more and more the appearance of chemical warfare.

Wednesday, September 17th was a very black day for consumers and environmentalists as the USDA plowed ahead with a highly controversial decision to deregulate new seed varieties of “Agent Orange” corn and soybeans, so-called for its ability to withstand the weed killer 2,4-D, a major component in the infamous dioxin-laden defoliant used in Vietnam.  The USDA environmental impact study predicted that approval of the crops would lead to a 200 to 600 percent increase in the use of 2,4-D nationally by 2020, but deferred to the EPA for analysis of the effects of the increase.

The seeds will be sold as part of Dow Agrosciences’ branded EnlistTM Weed Control System.  Though trailing far behind Monsanto in market share, Dow Agrosciences is one of the Big Six multinational companies dominating the biotech seed and agrochemical industry.  With annual global sales of $7.1 billion in 2013, Dow Agrosciences, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.  2,4-D is a weed killer presently manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company.  Dow is still awaiting approval from the EPA for the Enlist DuoTM herbicide in order to launch sales of the complete seed plus herbicide package for the 2015 planting season.