EPA Herbicide

EPA Reverses Approval of Controversial Herbicide

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to reverse their approval of Dow Chemical’s Enlist Duo which contains the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate.

The EPA told the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco that they had discovered new information which suggests 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, known as 2,4-D, could be more toxic than the agency previously believed. The agency claimed it initially did not recognize that glyphosate and 2,4-D were possibly a toxic combination.

“E.P.A. can no longer be confident that Enlist Duo will not cause risks of concern to nontarget organisms, including those listed as endangered, when used according to the approved label,” the agency said in a court filing. The EPA also said they realized they “did not have all relevant information at the time it made its registration decision.”

The EPA’s decision is related to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of U.S. farmer and environmental groups represented by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety who are seeking to overturn the approval of Enlist Duo.

Enlist Duo is part of a partnership between Monsanto and Dow known as the Enlist Weed Control system. The weed controls system is the latest effort to combat the growing problem of so-called “super weeds” that have resulted from the abundant use of glyphosate-based herbicides. In order to fight off the tougher weeds, Dow and Monsanto partnered together to produce Enlist Duo.

 Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and is wiping out the monarch butterfly, 2,4-D also causes serious human health effects, and the combination also threatens endangered wildlife,” said Earthjustice’s Managing Attorney Paul Achitoff. “This must not, and will not, be how we grow our food.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that more than 200,000 people signed a petition they circulated which asked Dow to cancel its plans to sell Enlist Duo. Sylvia Fallon, Senior Scientist at the NRDC, said her organization was “delighted” by the news but also called on regulators do a proper job the first time. “EPA needs to do better in protecting human health and the health of the plants and animals in the ecosystem,” she said.

Dow has until December 7 to respond to the EPA’s decision and then the court will decide if 2,4-D should be removed from commercial products. If the court agrees with the EPA, it will likely delay the introduction of genetically engineered foods that were created to be resistant to 2,4-D.

The New York Times reports that in September the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the E.P.A.’s approval of another Dow pesticide known as sulfoxaflor because of concerns the chemical was insufficiently studied and possibly harmful to bee populations.

Earlier this year, Truth In Media reported that both 2,4-D and glyphosate had been linked to cancer in studies conducted by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The IARC found that Glyphosate “probably” causes cancer and found 2,4-D to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” a step below “probably carcinogenic”.

Stay tuned to Truth In Media for more details on this developing story.