New genetically engineered crops could increase use of ‘Agent Orange’ compoundBy Ramona du HouxWith just weeks before a final decision is to be made, 50 members of Congress, led by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reject new GE herbicide-resistant crops and the subsequent use of extraordinarily potent weed-killer designed to kill the “superweeds” that have adapted to withstand Monsanto’s RoundUp."The introduction of Roundup Ready GE crops in the 90s sparked a frightening increase in the amount of herbicides in this country. There's no reason to think that the deregulation of 2,4-D resistant plants will be any different," said Pingree. "The overuse of these powerful herbicides has led to superweeds that require an even stronger cocktail of toxic chemicals to control. When will it end? Today, it's Enlist 'Duo.' Tomorrow, it could be 'Triple' or 'Quintet.' The federal government needs to take a hard look at ending this destructive cycle."The herbicide, Dow’s Enlist Duo, contains both glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp) as well as 2,4-D, the same compound used in Agent Orange that sickened many Vietnam veterans.“Right now, we are witnessing agribusiness attempt to wield its powerful influence over federal regulators. They want EPA and USDA to rubberstamp another set of genetically engineered crops rather than listen to the scientific community,” DeFazio said. “We must stop this toxic treadmill because the health of our children and our environment is at stake.”Members are concerned EPA and USDA have failed to properly analyze the potentially devastating health and environmental effects of allowing the use of this next generation "of herbicide-resistant crops. As the letter to the EPA and the USDA states, the scientific community warned about the dangers of exposure to 2,4-D for decades. 2,4-D is linked to cancer, decreased sperm count liver disease and Parkinson’s disease. A recent report shows thousands of schools would be next to spray zones.