EPA Sued for Approving Herbicide to Treat Agent Orange Crops

by Elena Keates

October 28, 2014

Hazardous to humans and Monarch butterflies, the Environmental Protection Agency faces legal action after approving a new herbicide blend for use on genetically engineered crops.

Sign "Round up ready soya beans" in field of genetically engineered soyabeans.

© Greenpeace / Alexandra Buxbaum

Hazardous to humans and Monarch butterflies, the Environmental Protection Agency faces legal action after approving a new herbicide blend for use on genetically engineered crops.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a new herbicide blend known as Enlist Duo for use on genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans. Enlist Duo is composed of 2,4-D and glyphosate; 2,4-D is an active agent in Agent Orange, and glyphosate is commonly known as Roundup.

Two suits have been filed against the EPA following Enlist Duos approval. One suitalleges the herbicide blend will do irreparable harm to the Monarch butterfly population and threaten human health. The other suitalleges the EPA did not sufficiently analyze the impacts of 2,4-D and violated the Endangered Species Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act by approving Enlist Duo. The EPA claims to have done a full risk evaluation before issuing approval, however, Roundup (glyphosate) has reportedlynot been risk assessed since 1993, despite its widespread usage.

The EPAs investigation into 2,4-D shows it to be dangerous to human health, with the potential to damage the kidneys, liver, and nervous system. Transportation of 2,4-D from treated crops to other surfaces through transfer and leaching, called drift, is also recognized by the EPA. Human exposure and resulting health effects are most likely to occur through ingesting contaminated food and drinking water, working in or near 2,4-D manufacturing and application, and working or living near an area treated with 2,4-D.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which recently approvedDows GE corn and soy crops, predicts usage of Enlist Duoto grow heavily. Use of Enlist Duo on Dows GE crops, also termed “Agent Orange” crops, is predicted to lead to weeds becoming resistant to both of Enlist Duos components.

 

 

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