Misinformation Wednesday: 2, 4-D and “Agent Orange Crops”



I saw this on Facebook a few weeks ago and decided to research more for Misinformation Wednesday. It shows a plane spraying a substance (with the photo altered to make the substance bright orange) onto crops. It focuses on 2, 4-D, an herbicide. Please know that, while I’m familiar with agricultural generic engineering as that was my focus for my primary degree in college, I’d rather give you information from someone others who don’t know me would find reputable.
Here are others I’ve seen also:




These are insinuating that crops will be sprayed with Agent Orange (or a derivative thereof) and that exposure to this chemical will or could cause the same effects as Agent Orange. I have researched this and have a fairly well-versed knowledge in agricultural genetic modification, as that was my major in the earlier half of my undergraduate studies.

There wasn’t an article on Snopes, but there was a comprehensive article on Forbes online.

It states “What is 2,4-D? According to scientists, it’s an effective herbicide and plant growth regulator widely and safely used for decades in household weed killers, such as Scotts TurfBuilder, and also by farmers. To opponents, it’s “Agent Orange”.

That’s factually untrue. As agricultural scientist Steve Savage has written on the independent website Biofortified, “Agent Orange, a defoliant used in the Vietnam War, was made with two herbicides: 2,4-D (the one that the new corn tolerates), and 2,4,5-T. The 2,4,5-T was unknowingly contaminated with a dioxin, something that was only later recognized as a significant human safety issue. Yes, 2,4-D was part of Agent Orange, but it wasn’t what made Agent Orange a danger back in the 1960s.””

I urge you to read the full article and understand that 2, 4-D was a component of Agent Orange but is far from being Agent Orange or anything like it. The danger was the Dioxin, not the 2, 4-D. It was more the “innocent bystander”.

*May contain affiliate links. All opinions are always my own