Accountability for toxic ag chemicals

Posted by Christine, November 3, 2014

Enlist Duo is a combination of the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate developed by Dow Chemical Co. It received EPA approval for use in six states in October, and is on track for approval in ten more. 2,4-D was one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, the defoliant used in the Vietnam War that later was linked to illnesses in soldiers and Vietnamese civilians. It is justified because ‘superweeds’ have become tolerant of glyphosate. Dow’s Enlist-tolerant corn and soybean seeds have already been approved by the USDA.  Enlist-tolerant cotton is on the  horizon.

Retired engineer and current USDA Certified Organic farmer at Nishnabotna Naturals in Oakland, Iowa, Carl Glanzman, came up with some free market business-oriented ways to hold the manufacturers and users of toxic chemicals such as Enlist. Here are his suggestions:

Dow and the international chemical industry will harvest massive profits in the next decades, until all of the negative effects are known, the environment is irreparably degraded and even harsher chemicals are required to maintain weed-free conditions.

Cultivation and cover crops are the answer, but none of the groups below will be held accountable, without financial consequences at the outset.

– Pesticide manufacturers should be required to post bonds for each unit of 2,4,D produced, the funds to be disbursed to bring public water to owners of contaminated wells and to have end of life care when the residuals of 2,4,D are found in body organs, plus therapies shown effective in reducing the effects.

– Agricultural retailers should be required to post bonds to hand weed and to rescue wildlife damaged by 2,4,D residuals, supporting the Endangered Species Act work to save pollinators, field dwelling and/or browsing mammals, fish, mollusks and swimming mammals found to have 2,4,D breakdown residuals in organs.

– Government (EPA, USDA, etc.) – Fire the EPA administrators, who approved or participated in Enlist and copycat compounds.

– Land management firms – Pay a per-acre assessment directly to landowners to be used for granular activated carbon systems to be used in conjunction with well equipment and for building drainage capture ponds on farm to treat the runoff with similar equipment.

– Seed companies – pay a bond per seed supplied with the genetic modifications to tolerate 2,4,D, to be used to isolate and grow non-2,4,D-tolerant seed for organic farmers to use.

– Commodity groups – pay a bond per bushel handled by type of seed with 2,4,D-tolerant GM traits, to be used by organic farmers to reduce cost of non-2,4,D seed purchased.

– University scientists – This group of field trial, trait developers, and
grant-supported hyping of 2,4,D tolerant traits deserves to be retasked. Joseph Hannan and the editor of Integrated Management newsletter are only a small part of the ISU and extension personnel, whose salaries came from Roundup and other glyphosate products and now are, in large part, coming from Dow, 2,4,D-resistant trait developers and 2,4,D manufacturers. Offer them jobs at lower pay, to work on mitigation of 2,4,D damage issues.

– Farmers – Require them to build drainage capture ponds on site with
activated carbon treatment as a condition of use of Enlist seed and allowing 2,4,D to be applied to the field.

– Commercial pesticide applicators – pay a bond per unit of 2,4,D purchased or supplied to them for application to be used in the programs for Pesticide manufacturers and Agricultural retailers.

– Crop advisors – Allow them and all the above to be directly sued in
individual and/or in class action on behalf of wildlife, humans and those suffering weed infestations.

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