Several years ago I had an experience with 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic
Acid--same chemical family as 2,4,5-T or "Agent Orange") which is a
broad-leaf herbicide extensively used on pasture land in my region. It's
related to the plants' natural growth hormone and kills the plant by causing
My neighbor needed to have his barn cleaned out, and I needed nutrients for
my garden, so I got some good exercise shoveling manure. My neighbor didn't
spray his pasture, so I felt certain the manure would be safe to use. After
the addition of the manure, the garden soil was beautiful to behold.
However, within a few days of transplanting into the garden, the plants in
the nightshade family (including Irish potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and
eggplants) began to grow in that frightening, contorted manner which
indicates 2,4-D poisoning--the nightshade or solanacea family is especially
susceptible to 2,4-D, so these were the first to exhibit symptoms.
I immediately took some cuttings from the sick plants to my agricultural
extension agent, who told me that he saw this sort of thing all too
frequently. The 2,4-D is concentrated in the animals' urine, so the dose
conferred by the manure can be even higher than the original dose applied to
the pasture. It turned out that my neighbor had bought some hay from a
pasture that had been sprayed, and this was the source of the 2,4-D in his
animals' manure. Sunlight breaks down the chemical within a few months, but
in the absence of sunlight, it can persist for YEARS.
The chemical is so powerful that a few molecules escaping from a tank on a
passing truck can damage cotton crops. My ag extension agent, educated at a
university which praised chemicals such as 2,4-D has come to see them as
I haven't seen any research addressing concentration of 2,4-D, bovine growth
hormone, or other chemicals in cows' milk, but I've seen research done on
the breast milk of Inuit women living in remote sub-Arctic regions which
have revealed surprisingly high concentrations of toxic chemicals
(transferred from the developed world via wind & water) in their milk. I
suspect that most commercial cows' milk contains fairly high doses of
various synthetic hormones.
Seeing's how I want to live a long and healthy life, I avoid the
contaminated milk problem by milking my own goats or purchasing cows' milk
from a dairy which claims not to use BGH (I've personally inspected the
dairy to satisfy myself as to the truth of their claim). It doesn't make
sense to me to take other life extension measures without paying close
attention to the food I eat.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:35:30 MDT