• Beware For “Agent Orange” Drift

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    By Brad Jordan

    USDA could approve new genetically engineered corn treated with a chemical almost identical to Agent Orange

    Agent Orange was the chemical spray used to destroy 39,000 square miles of Vietnamese agriculture, kill 400,000 people, and cause half a million birth defects during the Vietnam War.

    If the USDA approves a new type of genetically modified corn, then the herbicide “2,4-D” – half of the chemical concoction found in Agent Orange – will shower US farms far and wide.

    2,4-D aims to destroy weeds that have become resistant to Round-Up Ready fertilizer. Glyphosate – the main ingredient found in Round-Up – used to be sufficient kill these pesky weeds but, thanks to natural selection, the weeds have adapted to this toxic chemical, by forming into bigger, stronger, and harder to kill superweeds.

    So, instead of reconsidering the wisdom of the ever-escalating battle against nature, Dow AgroSciences decided to up the ante and go …

    Exposure to Agent Orange varied a great deal. Most of the large-scale spraying in Operation Ranch Hand was done with airplanes and helicopters. However, some herbicides were sprayed from boats or trucks, and some were applied by soldiers with backpack sprayers. Those who loaded airplanes and helicopters might have been exposed the most. Members of the Army Chemical Corps, who stored and mixed herbicides and defoliated the perimeters of military bases, probably also had some of the heaviest exposures. Others with potentially heavy exposures included members of Special Forces units who defoliated remote campsites, and members of Navy river units who cleared base perimeters. Exposures could have occurred when the chemicals were breathed in, ingested in contaminated food or drink, or absorbed through the skin. Exposure may have been possible through the eyes or through breaks in the skin, as well.


    Staff Writer

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