Tag Archives: herbicides

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.

Monsanto Seeks Third-Party Review of Cancer Claims

In March of this year TruthInMedia reported that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a report in The Lancet Oncology detailing evaluations of organophosphate pesticides and herbicides. The report concluded that there was “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” The evidence for this conclusion was pulled from studies of exposure to the chemical in the US, Canada and Sweden published since 2001.

 The researchers found “convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause cancer in laboratory animals.” The report points out that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) had originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans in 1985. The IARC Working Group evaluated the original EPA findings and more recent reports before concluding “there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” Despite the WHO’s findings, the EPA approved Monsanto’s use of glyphosate as recently as 2013.

Glyphosate is not only the most widely-used herbicide, it is a key ingredient in Bio-Tech giant Monsanto’s popular RoundUp products. At the time Reuters reported that Philip Miller, Monsanto’s vice-president of global regulatory affairs, was unsure “how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe.” The corporation stated that scientific data does not match the claims and called for an emergency meeting between Monsanto and WHO officials.

Now Reuters reports that Monsanto has announced they have hired Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy to form “a panel of internationally recognized scientific experts to review IARC’s work. The experts include medical doctors, cancer experts, and individuals with doctoral degrees who are specialists in public health, the Creve Coeur, Missouri-based company said.”

Monsanto President Brett Begemann told Reuters that Monsanto is “confident in the safety of its herbicide products” but the review is being done to reassure consumers of the safety of the popular herbicide.

“It has created a lot of confusion,” Begemann told Reuters. “This panel is going to review the data thoroughly, and they are going to make their findings available to everyone for review.”


Monsanto promised a fair and transparent review.

Glyphosate is only one of Monsanto’s products that have been recently connected to cancer, however. In June the IARC also found that the  weed killer 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, known as 2,4-D, “possibly” causes cancer in humans.

The IARC reviewed the latest scientific research before deciding to classify 2,4-D as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” a step below “probably carcinogenic”. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been receiving pressure to restrict or prohibit the use of 2,4-D, while some farm group and pesticide industry groups say the chemical does not need any more restriction.

Of particular interest with the recent findings is the fact that in April the EPA approved the use of Dow AgroScience’s Enlist Duo herbicide which contains 2,4-D and glyphosate. Enlist Duo is part of a partnership between Monsanto and Dow known as the Enlist Weed Control system.

Monsanto has not released a statement on whether or not they will also convene a panel to study the IARC’s claims about 2,4-D.