February 22nd, 2012
Dioxin is the most caustic man-made chemical known. Dioxin is a general term for hundreds of chemicals that are produced in industrial processes that use chlorine and burning. Disturbingly, it has a half-life of 100+ years when it is leached into soil or embedded in water systems. Dioxin was the most harmful component in Agent Orange (the recipe for Agent Orange is 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T herbicides).
The EPA says that air emissions of dioxin have decreased by 90% since the 1980′s, but dioxin is dangerous at any level. The study appears to omit any analysis of dioxin transmission in water and land. The danger is growing because Dow AgroScience has received preliminary USDA approval for its 2,4-D herbicide resistant GMO corn. This means that dioxin contaminated 2,4-D herbicide will drench US farm land and pollute water supplies if the crops are widely planted.
EPA Dioxin Assessment Report
The EPA’s press release on dioxin’s health effects trumpeted the lie that current exposure rates “don’t pose significant health risks”. But the EPA does admit that there is a cancer risk, although they are not releasing their study on cancer at this time. Perhaps the delay is due to the fact that 95% of Americans have measurable levels of dioxin in their bodies.
The EPA’s claim that current levels are not a health risk is contradicted by another webpage on the EPA’s own site says that dioxin accumulates over a lifetime, persists for years, is likely to lead to an increased risk of cancer, and that the current exposure levels are “uncomfortably” close to levels that can cause “subtle” non-cancer effects. These so-called subtle effects may include birth defects, reproductive problems and immunosuppression.
There were 500,000 victims of birth defects in Viet Nam that can hardly be considered subtle. Dioxin is bad at any level especially since it accumulates in the body.
Humans are exposed to dioxin primarily through food sources. The EPA’s press release fails to mention that people who eat animal based foods like meat, dairy and eggs will continually increase their dioxin levels.
If dioxin is so safe, why does the Veterans Administration make automatic payments for a wide range of claims that include several types of cancers and leukemia, liver disease, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes? American taxpayers are footing the bill for veterans’ Agent Orange dioxin injuries that are estimated to cost $42 billion over the next 10 years! Monsanto and Dow, the top 2 Agent Orange producers, should pay for all damages — not taxpayers.
While the EPA’s press release does acknowledge “certain industrial activities” as a cause of dioxin pollution, they omit any reference to chemical herbicides and pesticides. The EPA doesn’t mention that herbicide 2,4-D (half of the Agent Orange recipe) is the seventh largest source of dioxin in the US. Dow Chemical is the biggest 2,4-D manufacturer, and Dow is also listed as the #2 and #3 biggest industrial dioxin dumper in the US. Herbicide 2,4-D is polluting groundwater.
Shocking EPA Omission
The most disturbing omission by the EPA is its complete lack of oversight of a specific type of dioxin, 2,7-DCDD, that is one of the most potent kinds of dioxin. It is reported that DCDD is an inevitable by-product of 2,4-D herbicide manufacturing. The EPA doesn’t even regulate or monitor DCDD!
Therefore, the EPA’s report is incomplete and the true levels of dioxin are unknown.
Agent Orange GMOs
The sun is setting on Monsanto’s empire as their glyphosate herbicide is losing its effectiveness due to super weeds that have developed a tolerance to their glyphosate poison. Dow is slated to produce the next generation of GMOs which will include 2,4-D resistant corn, soy and cotton.
Farmers who don’t want to take the trouble to use targeted weed control and hand picking weeds prefer GMO products because they can just spray their crops with huge doses of herbicide and forget about them until harvest. From 1996 to 2008, GMO crops were responsible for 383 million pounds of herbicides sprayed on farmland in the US. These are the same genetically modified foods sold on grocery store shelves worldwide.
Therefore, we can expect a dramatic increase in dioxin production and pollution because Dow’s 2,4-D herbicide resistant crops will be saturated with the tainted herbicide.
Dow AgroScience & Monsanto
Dow AgroScience and Monsanto have struck up a partnership to produce stacked trait crops that will be resistant to Dow’s 2,4-D and Monsanto’s glyphosate poisons. It appears that Dow and Monsanto may be creating a cartel arrangement by joining forces to eliminate competition.
Monsanto and Dow have been able to skate away from accountability for damage caused by their products because diseases like cancer can take years to incubate. Victims are required to prove their injuries were directly caused by exposure to a carcinogen years after the exposure. This is nearly impossible to do. Monsanto and Dow should be made to prove their products are safe. Federal agency (EPA, FDA, USDA, etc) regulations are profoundly ineffective.
Remediation Clean Up
The EPA’s assessment will hopefully lead to remediation (clean up) of the environment in areas with high dioxin levels. The costs could be staggering because the proper process for soil remediation is to block tainted soil with concrete barriers to prevent water runoff into steams and then incinerating the soil. Water remediation is even more difficult.
Dow Chemical appears to be worried about this because they just agreed to buy dioxin contaminated homes near their Michigan dioxin-emitting plant.
If Monsanto were forced to clean up their pollution, they would go bankrupt.
The EPA omitted critical information in its assessment, and current dioxin levels are a significant health risk. Dioxin levels will increase when Dow’s Agent Orange 2,4-D resistant crops are planted.
The EPA’s lack of interest in dioxin DCDD is disgusting. Dioxin DCDD that contaminates 2,4-D herbicide is not tested, measured or monitored by the EPA, or even regulated. A Canadian research paper states that dioxin DCDD may have large public health implications due to its prevalence in our food and environment.
This article first appeared at Natural Society