WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is joining nearly 50 other Members of Congress in speaking out against new decisions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow the use of herbicides that have the potential to adversely impact the foods Americans eat. In their letter, Michaud and the other lawmakers express concern over proposed decisions by the two agencies to allow continued -- and increased -- usage of 2,4-D toxins as a means of creating crops able to withstand the application of herbicides despite the scientific community's concerns. 2,4-D was one of the toxins used in Agent Orange.
"I'm deeply concerned that agencies like the EPA and USDA are making decisions about chemicals that can be applied to fields and crops without having a full appreciation of how those chemicals will impact the surrounding community -- everything from what it means for plants and livestock, to the health impacts on those who consume treated crops," said Michaud. "That's why I'm proud to join my colleagues in speaking out on this, and it's why I co-sponsored the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act over a year ago. The USDA and EPA need to more fully review all the facts -- and repercussions -- and seriously reconsider the use of these dangerous toxins."
In the letter, available online here, Michaud and other Members wrote:
"The scientific community has sounded alarms about exposure to 2,4-D for decades. 2,4-D has been linked to multiple adverse health effects including cancer (especially non-Hodgkin's lymphoma), decreased sperm count, liver disease and Parkinson's disease. Further, exposure has also been shown to negatively impact the hormonal, reproductive, neurological and immune systems. In addition, EPA has reported that 2,4-D is the seventh largest source of dioxins in the United States. Dioxins are extremely toxic chemicals, and their bioaccumulation in the food chain may potentially lead to dangerous levels of exposure.
"....We request that USDA and EPA fully review the facts, law, and science in this case. As the over 400,000 public comments indicate, the risks of approving 2,4-D crops are simply too great and benefits too few to jeopardize public health, the environment and the long-term sustainability of our food supply. We therefore request EPA not register Enlist Duo for use on 2,4-D crops and USDA maintain the regulated status for 2,4-D resistant crops."
Michaud also is a long-time co-sponsor of H.R. 1699, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act. The bill would require clear labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients -- giving consumers greater knowledge and control over what they choose to eat.