Environmentalists take EPA to court to reverse its approval of Dow Chemical’s toxic “Enlist Duo” pesticide

The stated mission of the US. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect both human health and the environment, ensuring that Americans have access to clean land, air and water. They also promise to review all chemicals in the marketplace for safety. More often than not, though, they have failed to uphold these lofty ideals.

The latest example of this failure is the agency’s approval of Dow Chemical’s toxic “Enlist Duo” pesticide, which has been approved for spraying on corn, cotton and soybean crops that have been genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate and 2,4-D – the pesticide’s main ingredients.

As reported by EcoWatch, environmentalists have refused to accept the EPA’s decision, and are taking the agency to federal court to reverse its approval of this dangerous chemical.

Environmentalists take a stand

A group of environmentalists represented by Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) are asking the court to reverse the EPA’s controversial 2017 decision to approve the use of Enlist Duo in 34 states. Just one year earlier, litigation had forced the EPA to revoke its approval of Enlist Duo in a mere 15 states. At the time, the agency acknowledged that the toxic combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D was likely more dangerous than either chemical used on its own. (Related: EPA revokes approval of “Agent Orange” glyphosate herbicide known as Enlist Duo … Too toxic for even the EPA!)

Fast forward a year, and suddenly the agency has approved the use of the very same pesticide in more than double the number of states!

“Our filing reveals that EPA approved Enlist Duo despite its significant harms to health, environment, farms, water, and endangered species,” noted Sylvia Wu, a CFS attorney representing the coalition. “EPA’s job is protecting the environment, human health, and farmers, not blindly do [sic] the bidding of pesticide companies. The court must stop its use.”

Paul Achitoff, an Earthjustice attorney that is also part of the legal team representing the environmental coalition, noted that the EPA’s reckless decision has put neighboring crops, human health and hundreds of endangered species at risk.

“We, and the law, demand much more from the agency created to protect our health and environment than bowing to chemical industry pressure,” he said.

Why the need for such a toxic pesticide?

Dow’s Enlist Duo product was released as a solution to a problem created by fellow agri giant Monsanto. Repeated use of the company’s Roundup product on crops engineered to withstand it has resulted in “superweeds” which are resistant to glyphosate and have infiltrated over 100 million acres of farmland in the U.S.

An even more toxic chemical than Roundup was presented as the perfect solution to the problem: Dow’s Enlist Duo.

The dangers of glyphosate and 2,4-D

“2,4-D is a possible carcinogen, an endocrine-disruptor and a herbicide that is very drift prone and persistent in the environment,” warned Jim Goodman, an organic rancher from Wisconsin who is representing one of the petitioners in the case, the National Family Farm Coalition. “The combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate in Enlist Duo is a recipe for disaster. It may control Roundup-resistant weeds, but only for a while, and at what cost to the health of farm workers, consumers and the environment?”

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recognized both 2,4-D and glyphosate as probable human carcinogens, linking them to the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) calls 2,4-D “the most dangerous pesticide you’ve never heard of,” noting that this toxic chemical disrupts the body’s endocrine system, impeding the normal action of hormones like estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormones.

Now, imagine the EPA approving a toxic combination of both glyphosate and 2,4-D in addition to other unspecified chemicals, for use on crops ultimately consumed by humans.

Does that sound like the EPA is living up to its mandate? Learn more at Pesticides.news.

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