Reclaiming the future of food and farming

EPA ignores health and safety risks; approves drastic increase in use of toxic pesticide 2,4-D

For Immediate Release

October 15, 2014

Media contact: Linda Wells, PAN, 563-940-1242, linda@panna.org

Expert: Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, PAN senior scientist: 510-684-6860

Washington, DC - Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted registration to Dow AgroSciences’ new pesticide product Enlist Duo. This is a combination of the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate, designed to be used alongside Dow’s new pesticide-resistant corn and soybean seeds. With this final approval from EPA, Dow has the greenlight from both the USDA and EPA to market their Enlist line — a move that will drastically increase the use of 2,4-D, a harmful and volatile chemical. USDA predicts 2,4-D use in corn and soybean production to increase between 500% and 1,400%  over the course of nine years, depending on farmers’ practices and changes in Dow’s share of corn and soybean seed markets.

In making this decision, EPA officials failed to consider several important health and safety factors. By ignoring the potential synergistic effects of 2,4-D and glyphosate, not addressing the cumulative impacts of the expected increase in 2,4-D use, and failing to implement an appropriate 10-fold safety factor to limit exposures — as required under the Food Quality Protection Act — EPA has given Enlist Duo an unjustified approval, based on a flawed and inadequate review of the chemical’s harms. In addition, neither USDA nor EPA have looked at the economic impact that Enlist Duo drift will have on surrounding farms and communities.

Since the USDA approval last month, over 250,000 concerned individuals have signed a petition urging the White House to intervene and stop the approval of Enlist products.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, senior scientist with Pesticide Action Network, released the following statement:

“EPA has once again shirked its responsibilities when it comes to protecting public health from harmful pesticide exposure. Rural communities rely on EPA to take its job seriously — to fully consider potential health impacts before introducing new products onto the market or allowing a dramatic increase in use of a hazardous and volatile chemical like 2,4-D. Instead, EPA has looked at a limited set of health questions, ignored the bigger ones and given the greenlight to an enormous increase in toxic pesticide exposure.

Despite ominous warnings from medical and public health professionals, EPA still refuses to consider the cumulative impact of these exposures on rural families. Communities across the Midwest are furious, knowing that they now face unprecedented levels of 2,4-D drift each summer.

The lack of oversight and protection provided by EPA and USDA is shocking. It’s time for real reform in these agencies. We need a new system of government oversight that is powerful enough to say ‘No’ to Dow and Monsanto when their products will harm the health and livelihoods of our farmers and rural communities.”

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Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN North America, or PANNA) works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society.