Quietly — almost secretly — right after Election Day, the EPA gave its blessings to a dangerous weed-killer made by Monsanto.
Environmental groups have been up in arms since word first leaked out about this newly approved poison. And farmers, scientists and experts all over the country had been hoping the EPA wouldn’t cave in to Monsanto and approve it.
But while we were all looking elsewhere, it did just that.
Too big to ban
The approval of Monsanto’s XtendiMax marked a new low at the EPA.
Its active ingredient, dicamba, was approved way back in 1967. And during practically half a century since then, what we’ve learned about dicamba tells us that it should be taken off the market – not given the green light to be used in a new formula.
Dicamba kills weeds by causing uncontrolled cell division and growth in them — so it should come as no surprise that it’s been found to cause cancer. In a study done over 15 years ago, cases of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma were found to be “significantly increased” in men exposed to dicamba. And even scarier, scientists have linked it to serious birth defects.
XtendiMax isn’t mixed into soil to get rid of weeds. It’s called an “over-the-top” herbicide that’s sprayed right on plants like soy and cotton while they’re growing. It doesn’t kill them, because they’re also new genetically-modified ones from Monsanto!
And wait until you hear this little tidbit: Monsanto went ahead and started selling its GMO seeds that go along with XtendiMax way before the EPA approved the herbicide. So Monsanto must have known the approval was in the bag.
The chemical has already caused so much hostility and problems among growers that one farmer in Arkansas was shot and killed during a dispute when dicamba drifted over to a non-GMO field of crops.
A peach farmer in Missouri said that we “need to go after Monsanto,” as it’s hanging farmers “out to dry.” That, however, is easier said than done.
Monsanto has been fighting off lawsuits of all kinds for decades now. It’s got plenty of money and stables full of lawyers who use every trick in the book if anyone tries to hold it responsible for its actions.
And dicamba use is only going to get worse. It’s predicted to jump from under one million pounds to well over 25 million a year. And that’s just on soy and cotton!
The head of the Center for Food Safety called it a return to “the dark days of heavy, indiscriminate use of hazardous pesticides.”
And that puts our kids in the biggest jeopardy — especially if they go to school or play in areas with nearby farms that use this herbicide. While we have “tobacco-free zones” around schools, there’s no official “spray-free zones.”
XtendiMax may be a done deal as far as our so-called federal watchdogs are concerned, but there are still three important things you can do to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible:
#1: If you live in a rural area, do some investigating to see where the nearest farms are to your child’s school, athletic fields and playgrounds. Remember, this chemical doesn’t just stay put, but can drift into neighboring areas. Contact your local school board and legislators to demand buffer zones around local schools.
#2: Stop buying food products that contain soy unless it’s organic or has the “Non-GMO Project Verified” label.
#3: While we don’t eat cotton, we do have to watch out for cottonseed oil, which is used in all kinds of foods, especially nuts. For example, instead of buying peanuts cooked in cottonseed oil, get ones roasted in the shell.
XtendiMax won’t be going away anytime soon. So once again, keeping ourselves and our family safe is in our own hands.
“EPA approval of Monsanto’s dicamba will ‘massively increase use of toxic pesticides’ on GMO crops” Lorraine Chow, November 11, 2016, Nation of Change, nationofchange.org