EPA Seeks to Revoke Approval of Dow Chemical Herbicide


Glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup, is associated with many illnesses, and according to the World Health Organization and the State of California, causes cancer.

2,4-D was a main ingredient in Agent Orange, which caused 2-million birth defects among Vietnamese exposed to it during the war. 60,000 American vets receive disability for illnesses caused by exposure to Agent Orange/2,4-D.  Even more have claims pending.

Combining these poisons is very dangerous; using them on most of our food and cropland is insane.

NOTE: Article originally appeared on WSJ.com on Nov 25, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to withdraw its approval of a Dow Chemical Co. herbicide, saying it has new information that suggests the weedkiller is more toxic to surrounding plants than previously thought.

In a setback for one of Dow’s newest agricultural products, the EPA this week asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the agency’s approval last year of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide, which is designed to be used on genetically engineered crops, so that it may reevaluate the spray.

Dow Chemical shares closed 2.7% lower at $51.92 on Wednesday.

The EPA in October 2014 greenlighted the use of Enlist Duo in six states, offering farmers a new tool to combat “super” weeds that have taken a heavy toll in the Farm Belt. It expanded that approval to nine more states earlier this year.

Several environmental-advocacy groups including the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice sued the agency last year, arguing it had failed to adequately consider the pesticide’s effects on threatened and endangered plants and animals.

The EPA this week said new information, which Dow hadn’t provided to the agency before Enlist Duo’s approval, could lead it to a “different decision” about restrictions for farmers’ use of the herbicide. Specifically, the agency said farmers may be required to follow more-stringent measures to protect nearby plants, including those listed as endangered.

Dow spokesman Garry Hamlin said the Midland, Mich., company is confident in the data supporting Enlist Duo.

“We are working with EPA to quickly provide further assurances that our product’s conditions of registered use will continue to protect the environment, including threatened and endangered plant species,” he said. “We expect that these new evaluations will result in a prompt resolution of all outstanding issues.”

In a press release late Wednesday, Dow said the company expects its Enlist Duo herbicide to be available for the upcoming 2016 U.S. growing season, and continues to prepare for commercial sales of the spray.

Supporters of the herbicide argued that it was badly needed by farmers who have been combating fast-growing weeds that have developed defenses against glyphosate, a widely used weedkiller sold by Monsanto Co. as Roundup. Enlist Duo combines glyphosate and a new version of 2,4-D, a decades-old chemical, that Dow says is safer for farmers and neighboring crops than older versions.

Dow now has an opportunity to respond to EPA’s motion. The appellate court then will decide whether to vacate Enlist’s approval.

“With this action, EPA confirms the toxic nature of this lethal cocktail of chemicals, and has stepped back from the brink,” said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff.

Opponents of the herbicide, including environmental groups, have argued that ongoing reliance on chemicals increases the risk that weeds such as palmer amaranth and marestail will develop further herbicide resistance and plague more farms.

The EPA’s move may be a temporary setback for the chemical company, said Bernstein analyst Jonas Oxgaard. He said the agency likely will move quickly to review the new information and determine appropriate restrictions over use of the herbicide.

“It’s basically a speed bump on the ramp more than anything else,” he said.

Still, he noted that EPA’s actions may impact the company’s prospects for growth at a time when Dow is exploring the sale of its seed and pesticide unit.

“Enlist is their crown jewel,” he said.

In approving Enlist Duo, public officials failed the public.

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