Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Organic Farmer Worries About Weedkiller Sprayed in Ditches in Rural Manitoba

CBC News:  
The Rural Municipality of Morton defends use of Tordon 101 for weeds.  Details here.

PLT: I despair over the lack of sensitivity which is all too common among our local councillors. They sometimes remind me of gunslingers from the Old West who shoot first and ask questions later. Do they even know what's in the stuff they so liberally spray around with apparent abandon? Here's what Wikipedia says about Tordon 101.

The maker of Tordon 101, Dow AgroSciences, has seen fit to give it a code name - "Agent White." It is a powerful herbicide which the US military sprayed as a defoliant during the Vietnam War. It was one of the so-called "rainbow herbicides" that included the more infamous Agent Orange. Unlike Agent Orange, Tordon 101 does not contains the potent poisons known as dioxins. But it does contain 2-4-D, another potent weedkiller which robs plants of their ability to absorb life giving, airborn nitrogen. And its other active ingredient, Picloram is, or was, contaminated with two known carcinogens. Dow is said to have greatly reduced the amounts of both of those in 1985.

Trouble is, determining what is an "acceptable minimum" level for carcinogens is tricky, to say the least.

I happen to know the central figure in this story, Mr. Neufeld. He is a sincere, intelligent and hard-working organic producer who genuinely wants to help make the world a better place. He does not deserve the blame-game his RM seems to be playing here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The recent letter by Ruth Pryzner in the Rivers Banner should
not be taken lightly. The question that I ask is “Where is the
justification and common sense, of spraying this “poison" along
the country roadsides to control spurge? There isn’t any!
This is a deadly substance. It was used during the Vietnam War
(known as Agent White with 2-4-D) in areas where Agent Orange
was unsuccessful. Some readers will recall the devastation,suffering
and long term health effects of Agent Orange, that was used in eastern Canada for beetle control.
Tordon, a trade name for Picloram is the most persistent of it’s
family of herbicides. It does not adhere to soil and so may leach
to groundwater,and has in fact been detected there.
And anyone who uses manure as fertilizer should check to make
certain that the animal source has not grazed on picloram treated
hay,as the manure still has killing potential to broadleaf plants.
Why are we so eager to repeat the mistakes,and lessons of the past?
Haven’t we learned anything? Apparently not!
John Fefchak:
Virden, Manitoba.