Coalition drops opposition to a Dow engineered crop

September 13, 2012

Corn crop (credit: Jim Champion/Wikimedia Commons)

Save Our Crops Coalition, a group representing fruit and vegetable growers and canners, has dropped its opposition to regulatory approval of genetically engineered crops resistant to the powerful herbicide 2,4-D, The New York Times reports.

The group said Dow Agrosciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, the crops’ developer, had agreed to take steps to reduce the chances the herbicide would damage fruit and vegetable crops.

Dow is awaiting approval of genetically engineered corn that would allow farmers to spray 2,4-D on their fields to kill weeds without harming the crop. Soybeans and cotton that can withstand 2,4-D are also in the works.

Some consumer and environmental groups oppose approval, saying it would lead to a vast increase in the spraying of 2,4-D, a chemical they say is harmful.

The coalition’s concern was that if 2,4-D were sprayed on millions of acres of corn, soybeans and cotton, some of the chemical would drift onto fruit and vegetable farms, destroying those crops, which would not be immune to the chemical. Also, 2,4-D can vaporize — or volatilize — days after it has been sprayed and travel miles in the air.