Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A new lawsuit is challenging the EPA's approval of herbicides, with key ingredients found in Agent Orange and Monsanto's Roundup, on farms in 15 states nationwide. (Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/cc)

With EPA Lawsuit, Environmental Groups Step Up Fight Against 'Super-Toxic Chemical Cocktail'

'Our federal regulators have again unlawfully bowed to the chemical industry,' says Center for Food Safety

Nadia Prupis

A coalition of health and environmental organizations on Monday challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to expand the use of a new herbicide in nine states, which the groups say could endanger wildlife and public health.

The lawsuit (pdf) is the most recent step in a fight to push back against the use of the weed killer, Dow's Enlist Duo, which combines glyphosate, found in Monsanto's Roundup, and 2,4-D, the key ingredient in the infamous warfare herbicide Agent Orange.

As the coalition points out in a press release following its lawsuit, 2,4-D "has been linked to serious illnesses like Parkinson's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and reproductive problems. It also threatens endangered species that reside in the approved states, like the whooping crane, the Louisiana black bear, and the Indiana bat."

In March, the research arm of the World Health Organization declared that glyphosate was a "probable" source of cancer in humans and should be considered a carcinogen.

The EPA first approved use of Enlist Duo in six states in October, but recently widened that list to include an additional nine. The 15 total states where Enlist Duo may now be used are Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

"Our federal regulators have again unlawfully bowed to the chemical industry, rather than protect our communities, land, and farms," said George Kimbrell, senior attorney for the Center for Food Safety, one of the groups challenging the EPA's decision. "We will continue to defend them vigorously."

Also in the coalition are Earthjustice, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Pesticide Action Network North America. The groups initially sued the EPA in October in response to its first approval, charging that the agency violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing the use of those chemicals, but the case was dismissed.

"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, on Monday. "EPA has left us with no choice but to go to court."

As the coalition points out, the EPA approved Enlist Duo to address the rash of glyphosate-resistant "super weeds" infesting tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland. But using 2,4-D to kill the weeds is nothing more than a "quick fix," the coalition said.

"Independent and USDA scientists... 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," the Center for Food Safety said in a statement.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at the Pesticide Action Network North America, added, "Rural communities rely on EPA to take its job seriously... Communities across the Midwest are furious, knowing that they now face unprecedented levels of 2,4-D drift each summer."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Historic Offshore Wind Lease Sale in California Gets Over $750 Million in Winning Bids

"If we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."

Brett Wilkins ·


Solidarity Fund Up and Running for Designer Behind Iconic Bernie Sanders Posters

Tyler Evans "has dedicated his life to the progressive movement," says the GoFundMe created for the hospitalized designer. "Now it's our time to have Tyler's back when he and his family need it most."

Jessica Corbett ·


Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of 'Game-Changing' PRESS Act

"The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs," explained one advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


New York Times Union Workers Planning Dec. 8 Walkout, Rally Over Pay

"Our collective action is working: Management backed off its attempt to kill our pension and agreed to expand fertility benefits," the union said of ongoing talks. "But management still barely budged on some of our most important priorities."

Jessica Corbett ·


Dems Back Blue Dog Spanberger for Swing District Post Over Progressive Cartwright

The corporate Democrat's path to victory was "pretty simple," said one progressive. "Matt Cartwright supports Medicare for All and Spanberger is a former CIA agent who spends all her time punching left."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo