Trusting Chemical Companies?
The large multinational chemical companies like Monsanto and Dow have a growing rap sheet of safety claims later debunked and their products viewed as health hazards to both humans and the environment.
A prime example, DDT, which was first marketed by Monsanto in 1944 with outlandish safety claims:
“The great expectations for DDT have been realized. During 1946, exhaustive tests have shown that when properly used… DDT is a benefactor of all humanity.”
-TIME MAGAZINE - June 1947
It wasn’t until 1972 that the our government agencies finally caved to the independent science on the extreme toxicity of DDT and completely banned its use.
Similarly the safety of Agent Orange was grossly overstated and the use of its underlying chemicals heavily promoted by Monsanto and Dow for agricultural use. However, the widespread health effects to Vietnamese citizens, US soldiers, and the hundreds of thousands of children resultantly born with birth defects and malformations is now well documented.
Those are just two examples and looking at the product histories of these companies will show you more. So why should we now trust these companies as they take over our food system and make claims to the safety of their genetically engineered crops – which of course come with a side of pesticides they also supply?
With the advent of genetically engineered crops herbicide and pesticide use has increased dramatically.
- Herbicide use increased by 527 million pounds between 1996 and 2011. [Gillam, 10/1/12]
Higher levels of herbicide use can lead to health problems and environmental damage.
- Health problems caused by high levels of herbicide can include cancer, infertility, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s. [Reuters, 4/25/2013]
- Herbicides like roundup can cause environmental problems by seeping into groundwater and contaminating nearby fields. [Philpott, 1/25/12]
Increasingly dangerous poisons are being used to combat superweeds.
- To fight superweeds crops are now being engineered to resist the more toxic herbicide 2,4-D. [Laskawy, 4/26/12]
- The use of 2,4-D more than doubled in under a decade with over 8 million pounds being used in 2012. [Philpott, 1/7/14]
To combat superweeds plants are now being engineered to also be resistant to the more toxic herbicide 2,4-D. Because 2,4-D is considered a complement, not a replacement to Roundup this will result in even higher usage of both herbicides, leading to even more health and environmental problems, and in time to the evolution of more dangerous 2,4-D resistant superweeds. Ultimately the use of genetically engineered crops seems to be hard to reconcile with Oregon’s commitment to the environment.
Oregonians care deeply about the environment. Meeting our responsibility to protect the environment has led Oregon to be consistently ranked as one of the most environmentally friendly states in the US. Genetically engineered crops, increased herbicide use, and the creation of superweeds threaten Oregon’s farmers, environment, and conservation legacy.