Over half a million people including scientists, doctors and food safety advocates have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to approve a new herbicide mix proposed by Dow because they say it would open the floodgates to a vast increase in toxic spraying that puts public health and the environmental at risk.
At question is Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Duo herbicide, a mix of 2,4-D and glyphosate—the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup—made to be used on 2,4-D ready corn and soybean crops. Dow states that its proprietary blend “will control and help prevent further development of herbicide-resistant weeds” on the genetically engineered crops.
Food safety, environmental and health watchdogs, however, say that it’s an unsustainable and harmful approach to dealing with the problem of herbicide-resistant weeds, or “superweeds,” that exist because of the systemic issues underlying the “genetically engineered crop strategy” that keeps farmers on a “pesticide treadmill.”
“American agriculture stands at a crossroads,” stated Bill Freese, science policy analyst at Center for Food Safety. “Approval of these crops and pesticides would set American agriculture down a dangerous path that will only exacerbate the problems farmers are already facing.”
The groups and health professionals are sounding particular alarm over 2,4-D, which has been linked to numerous health problems including increased risks of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s and immune system problems.
Further, “In its Environmental Risk Assessment for 2,4-D, the EPA found ‘information gaps,’ ‘key uncertainties’ and ‘insufficient information’ in the analysis of the impacts of 2,4-D on nontarget organisms,” stated Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The agency even admitted concerns for direct and indirect effects on birds, mammals, insects (like honeybees) and plants.”
“As for its human health evaluation,” Hauter continued, “the EPA based all of its safety determinations on a study that was conducted by Dow AgroSciences.”
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