Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture
Goal: Fight the deregulation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans because of health and environmental hazards
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just released a draft environmental impact statement which calls for the deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) soybeans and corn, which are tolerant to the toxic herbicide, 2,4-D. These new varieties of crops are necessary because of the widespread use of glyphosate (Roundup), which has made them tolerant and resistant to pesticides. This toxic herbicide is associated with serious health and environmental hazards, and it cannot be allowed to enter the global food supply.
According to Nichelle Harriott, senior scientist at the national environmental group Beyond Pesticides, “The engineered varieties will not only spawn new weed resistant strains, but contaminate the environment and increase the public health risks to cancer and Parkinson’s disease, especially in farmworkers and farming communities exposed to 2,4-D.”
Recent reports indicate that GE crops are responsible for 404 million more pounds of pesticide, a 7% yearly increase. The USDA is trying to assure the public that 2,4-D is safe, however scientists and medical professionals know better. This herbicide was used as a key ingredient in “Agent Orange” during the Vietnam War, and it has been linked to increased risk of cancer, non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and Parkinson’s Disease.
Sign the petition to urge the USDA to reconsider its position on deregulating crops with genetically engineered tolerance of highly toxic herbicides.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
The highly toxic herbicide, 2,4-D, poses serious environmental risks for our earth and health risks for our people. Please reconsider your position about the deregulation of genetically engineered corn and soybeans that have developed a tolerance to toxic herbicides. Genetic engineering got us into this mess, due to the widespread use of Roundup, and it’s certainly not going to be the solution to its own problem.
This pesticide has been linked to serious and fatal health conditions like cancer and Parkinson’s disease, especially in communities where farming is a prominent way of life. Hundreds of millions of pounds of pesticides have been released into the environment as a result of GE crops, and you cannot overlook the issues of herbicide-resistant weeds and the corruption of conventional seeds by GE strains.
I am urging you to work with national environmental groups to find a better solution to the toxic herbicide issue regarding resistant seed varieties. The USDA should only endorse sustainable pest management strategies that minimize the challenges that GE crops have caused.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: fishhawk via Flickr