Dow Agrosciences’ Controversial Weedkiller Gets EPA Approval in 6 States

weedkiller

As expected, the EPA has approved a new herbicide for use on genetically modified corn and soy grown in six states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Called Enlist Duo, the Dow Agrosciences’ manufactured herbicide includes 2,4-D, a controversial ingredient.

The approval comes just a month after the USDA approved the genetically modified corn and soy created by Dow Agrosciences to resist applications of Enlist Duo, which is a blend of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling Roundup herbicide—and 2,4-D, which was one-half of the Vietnam War defoliant, Agent Orange.

Enlist Duo was created by Dow Agrosciences to combat glyphosate-resistant weeds that have become problematic for corn and soy farmers in recent years. With Roundup no longer effective at killing these “superweeds”, harsher treatments have been employed. But critics say it’s only a matter of time before resistance to 2,4-D emerges as well, and that the health and environmental risks are too great to justify.

“Not only did the federal government fail the public in approving the use of this chemical cocktail on Dow’s genetically engineered crops, they ignored over a million public comments, letters from scientists and health care professionals, and a letter signed by 60 Members of Congress,” the Center for Food Safety wrote in an email.

“The EPA’s approval of this highly toxic herbicide flies in the face of scientific evidence that not only are these chemicals toxic to humans and the environment, but that the escalation of their use will only lead to the evolution of a whole new crop of herbicide-resistant superweeds,” Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica, said in a statement. “The EPA has failed in its mission to protect the environment, just as the biotech industry’s toxic, chemical-intensive industrial agriculture has failed to deliver on its promises of higher yields and higher profits for farmers, and fewer poisons for the environment.”

But the EPA said the herbicide meets all safety standards and that its decision was based on scientific evidence, using “highly conservative and protective assumptions to evaluate human health and ecological risks.”

The EPA is now taking comments on approving Dow Agrosciences’ Enlist Duo in 10 more states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota.

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Image: USDA

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.