Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture
Goal: Tell USDA to reject new pesticide-resistant crops from Monsanto
Monsanto has recently submitted new genetically engineered soybeans and cotton to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approval. These new crops are resistant to the herbicide dicamba. If approved by the USDA, millions more pounds of dicamba will be sprayed on crops in the United States, polluting food, water, and air.
This situation was first seen when Monsanto introduced its Roundup Ready crops, which are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. This led to a major increase in the use of glyphosate on millions of acres of crops in the United States. Soon, weeds began to develop resistance to glyphosate due to its extremely heavy use. These so-called “superweeds” began to become very widespread and now there are 22 different types of weeds with reported resistance to glyphosate. Now, Monsanto wants to do the exact same thing with the herbicide dicamba.
Dicamba has been linked to higher risks of cancers such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Symptoms of dicamba poisoning include loss of appetite (anorexia), vomiting, muscle weakness, slowed heart rate, shortness of breath, central nervous system effects, loss of voice, incontinence, bluing of the skin and gums, and exhaustion following repeated muscle spasms. Dicamba is corrosive to the eyes and can make vision cloudy and eyelids swollen for a week after exposure to the eye. Dicamba is also suspected to be a human teratogen, a substance that can cause the malformation of an embryo.
Dicamba is soluble in water and carries a significant risk of contaminating groundwater sources. Dicamba is also volatile and can drift in the air for miles. This drifting of dicamba has caused millions of dollars in damages to farmers whose crops have been lost due to dicamba drift onto their farms. The spraying of millions of more pounds of dicamba will only increase the toxicity and pollution of air, water, and the Earth. It will inevitably create superweeds resistant to dicamba, which will spread just like glyphosate-resistant superweeds have. These new crops must be denied by the USDA. Please tell the USDA to stop supporting Monsanto and genetically engineered crops.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops are hazardous to humans and the environment. You have seen the superweeds that the company’s overspraying of Roundup has caused because of its glyphosate-resistant crops—the same will happen in this situation with dicamba. Approving Monsanto’s use of dicamba will only perpetuate the chemical arms race with weeds while the environment will suffer for it.
Approving these crops will be giving in to the pressure of the agro-giant Monsanto and protecting corporate interests instead of the American people. Dicamba has many health risks and cannot be safe to ingest. It will pollute our air, water, and planet while giving the rich and powerful more money and power. These new crops must be rejected. Please deny Monsanto the right to plant dicamba-resistant soybeans, cotton, and any other plant.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Corbis via Creative Commons