lunes, 13 de agosto de 2012

African Centre for Biosafety: Sign against "Agent Orange" in South Africa, ACDP submits 'Agent Orange' petition to Parliament

The African Christian Democratic Party is supporting a petition by the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) to overturn a government decision to allow the import of “Agent Orange” GM Maize into South Africa. The maize is dubbed ‘Agent Orange’ because it has been genetically modified to survive very liberal applications of a weedkiller called 2,4-D, one of the key ingredients of the infamous defoliant chemical used in the Viet Nam war. The GM maize in question belongs to US chemical giant, Dow Chemicals.


A wide range of experts in the health field in South Africa have supported the Petition, citing worries about the potential health impacts and government’s lack of capacity to monitor the 2,4 D residues left on food crops. Cheryllyn Dudley, Member of Parliament and Chief Whip of the ACDP, today said: “2,4-D GM maize could pose a health risk to Sou th Africans who eat maize as a staple food, unlike in America where maize is grown primarily for livestock. Government has been too hasty in granting the approval”.

Director of the ACB, Mariam Mayet claims that “the introduction of 2,4-D resistant crops is expected to trigger a 30-fold increase in the herbicides’ use by the end of the decade. This chemical has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells) and numerous studies on animals have produced a variety of disturbing results”.

The use of 2,4-D is banned completely in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The World Health Organisation classifies the Chlorophenoxy herbicide group, of which 2,4-D is by far the most widely used member, as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’.

The petition, supported by 18 health professionals and academics, 20 South African organisations and over 6000 individual signatories, calls on the South Af rican government to overturn the decision to allow the importation of the maize for “food, feed and processing” and to review the decision-making process around GMOs to ensure that it is “transparent, just and fair”. “We are handing over our food production to massive chemical companies whose interest is to keep farmers on their chemical treadmill. We should be supporting healthy food production systems that will sustain our people and the environment into the future. This decision needs to be interrogated and the public needs to be educated and involved”, Dudley said.

We have prepared a fully referenced Fact Sheet  titled "What you should know about DOW's 2,4 GM maize".
Download thePDF book from this page and please help spread the word via the Facebook Like button.

For more information contact:

Cheryllyn Dudley, MP, Cell: 082 890 6520 (SMS best for urgent response)

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