Coalition Challenges Expansion of Hazardous Herbicide Containing Agent Orange Ingredient

For Immediate Release


Abigail Seiler, Center for Food Safety, 202-547-9359
Paul Achitoff, Earthjustice, 808-599-2436
Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity, 847-567-4052
Paul Towers, Pesticide Action Network North America, 916-216-1082

Coalition Challenges Expansion of Hazardous Herbicide Containing Agent Orange Ingredient

EPA allows nine additional states to use toxic 2,4-D on GE corn and soy crops

San Francisco, Calif. - A coalition of conservation, food safety, and public health groups filed a motion today challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s decision to expand the use of “Enlist Duo” on genetically engineered (GE) corn and soy crops to nine additional states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.

Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety filed the motion in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America. This motion builds on the coalition’s earlier challenge of Enlist Duo, which already includes six Midwestern states where EPA previously approved the herbicide’s use on GE corn and soy crops.

The groups are challenging EPA’s decision to allow the use of Enlist Duo in 15 Midwestern states because of the serious impacts the powerful new herbicide cocktail, which combines glyphosate and 2,4-D, will have on farmworkers, neighboring farms, and ground and surface water, as well as endangered species. For instance, 2,4-D, a component of the infamous Agent Orange, has been linked to serious illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive problems. The EPA’s analyses also demonstrate plainly that the herbicide may affect endangered species like the whooping crane, Louisiana black bear, and Indiana bat through consumption of prey contaminated with the toxic chemical. 

“Our federal regulators have again unlawfully bowed to the chemical industry, rather than protect our communities, land, and farms,” said George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety senior attorney, counsel in the case.  “We will continue to defend them vigorously.”

"Big chemical is profiting over dumping more and more toxins in our air, water and bodies and killing our endangered wildlife,” said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff.  “Instead of being an environmental watchdog, the EPA is playing lapdog and allowing this deadly herbicide to be sprayed on millions of acres without adequate impact assessment. We filed our motion so we can finally stop the cycle of more and more pesticides with less and less oversight.”

“In expanding its approval for this super-toxic chemical cocktail, EPA has shown an utter disregard for human health, our drinking water, and endangered species like the iconic whooping crane,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “EPA has left us with no choice but to go to court.”

“Rural communities rely on EPA to take its job seriously. But in approving Dow’s proposed use of 2,4-D, EPA has failed to protect their health, their vulnerable crops and their livelihoods,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network North America.  “Communities across the Midwest are furious, knowing that they now face unprecedented levels of 2,4-D drift each summer.”

EPA approved Enlist Duo to address the epidemic of glyphosate-resistant super weeds that now infest tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland as a result of overuse of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and probable carcinogen, on crops genetically engineered to resist glyphosate’s effects. Dow Chemical has introduced 2,4-D resistant crops as a quick fix to the problem, allowing farmers to douse their fields with both 2,4-D and glyphosate to kill resistant weeds. Independent and USDA scientists, however, predict that the Enlist Duo “crop system” will only foster resistance to 2,4-D in addition to glyphosate, continuing the GE crop pesticide treadmill.

States that are now approved to use Enlist Duo on GE corn and soy crops:

·         Arkansas - NEW
·         Illinois
·         Indiana
·         Iowa
·         Kansas - NEW
·         Louisiana - NEW
·         Minnesota - NEW
·         Missouri - NEW
·         Mississippi - NEW
·         Nebraska - NEW
·         North Dakota - NEW
·         Ohio
·         Oklahoma - NEW
·         South Dakota
·         Wisconsin


Center for Food Safety is a national, non-profit, membership organization founded in 1997 to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. CFS maintains offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon, and has more than 300,000 members across the country.

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