The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) is deeply dismayed and shocked that the GMO decision-making body has given the green light for the importation of Dow Chemical’s highly controversial 2,4-D tolerant GM maize (variety DAS 40278-9) into South Africa, where it will be used as food. The variety has yet to be approved in the US, where it continues to face vociferous opposition by civil society groups.
2,4-D was one of two active ingredients in the infamous chemical weapon, ‘Agent Orange‘, used to devastating effect during the Vietnam war. Exposure to 2,4-D has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells.
Epidemiologists from the National Cancer Institute in the USA regard this link as the strongest association yet found between a pesticide and a disease. Dozens of human and animal studies have shown 2,4-D to cause birth defects, neurological damage, and interference with reproductive function. The use of 2,4-D in Sweden, Norway and Denmark is banned because of these well publicised links.
The environmental risks of 2,4-D are no less acute, and will increase manifold with the introduction of 2,4-D tolerant maize; the use of 2,4-D in maize farming is expected to increase 30