Spraying of a new combination weed killer, Enlist Duo, which combines glyphosate with another potentially harmful toxin, is also beginning in much of the United States.
MINNEAPOLIS — An environmental health watchdog group warns that thousands of America’s Christians may be exposed to potentially cancer-causing toxins during their Sunday services.
In a study published on July 15, the Environmental Working Group reported that 12,000 churches in the United States are within 1,000 feet of fields where the weed killer glyphosate is used. Five-thousand of those churches are within a mere 200 feet of those fields.
Glyphosate, first marketed to U.S. consumers as part of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was recently determined to be “probably” carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization. Many European and Latin American countries are considering bans on the substance.
To make matters worse, a new combination herbicide called “Enlist Duo” is beginning to be used near many fields planted with glyphosate-resistant crops. Enlist Duo combines that weed-killing chemical with another called 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), which has also been labelled as a possible carcinogen by the WHO. There are even reports that 2,4-D weed killers are contaminated with high levels of dioxins, which are known to be highly toxic environmental pollutants. According to the Australian Broadcasting Company, this creates serious concerns about the safety of 2,4-D manufacturing process:
“Lee Bell, a researcher with the National Toxic Network, says it is a wake-up call …
‘We’ve been told many, many times over the years that industry has cleaned up its act, that they have new processing equipment, new techniques, new technology that will eliminate dioxin from their herbicides and therefore from our environment,’ he said.”
EWG reported that many of the churches are near the fields where this new combination weed killer is potentially being used:
“In seven of the 15 states where the Environmental Protection Agency has permitted farmers to spray this chemical cocktail of glyphosate and 2,4-D – marketed by Dow AgroSciences as ‘Enlist Duo’ – at least half of all rural churches are within 1,000 feet of GMO corn or soybean fields. Those states are Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and South Dakota.”
Wildlife may also be threatened by Enlist Duo, according to Collette Adkins Giese, a Minneapolis-based attorney and scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. Writing last year for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, she warned that there was insufficient environmental testing to approve it for use:
“Although scientists have documented pesticides drifting miles from where they’re applied and the EPA’s statistical models found that 5 percent of Enlist Duo could run off from agricultural fields into surrounding wildlife habitats, the EPA asserts that Enlist Duo will have ‘no effect’ on endangered wildlife.”
Giese accused the EPA of skipping legally-required steps such as consulting with the national Fish and Wildlife Service, potentially at great cost to the environment:
“By purposefully sidestepping this important protective step, the EPA is putting at risk over 20 endangered species in the Upper Midwest and the habitats we share with them, including a dozen species of freshwater mussels and the pallid sturgeon — the 6-foot-long freshwater behemoth that spawns only once every 10 years.”