On the Radio: The USDA’s attention to new seeds


Photo by United Soybean Board; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the USDA’s exploration into stronger, herbicide-resistant seeds. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

The United States Department of Agriculture could soon approve seeds that can stand up to stronger herbicides.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

In response to industry concerns regarding herbicide resistance weeds,  the USDA must assess the potential environmental impact of new seed technologies. Recently the organization released a draft Environmental Impact Statement  supporting the complete deregulation of seeds designed to resist stronger herbicides.

In 1985, the EPA banned the use of 2,4,5-T, herbicides but the agency has approved the use of 2,4-D and considers it safe when used according to specifications.

However, environmental groups strongly oppose the approval of 2,4-D-resistant seeds, saying it will likely increase the volume of chemicals sprayed on food products and into the soil.

Research has linked 2, 4-D to various health problems, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers, hormone disruption, and genetic mutations.

To learn more about 2, 4-D and provide comments on the Environmental Impact Statement,  visit iowaenvironmentalfocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

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