EPA Sued by Natural Defense Council Over Enlist Duo

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was sued by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) over the approval of Enlist Duo, a Dow AgroScience product. The lawsuit was filed soon after the EPA approved the weed control product. The NRDC contends Enlist Duo will further deplete the monarch butterfly population and it is also a risk to human health.

Enlist Duo, a herbicide, contains glyphosate and 2,4-D rousing health, wildlife, and environmental concerns. 2,4-D is a known component in Agent Orange. It has been linked to life-long health conditions and severe birth defects, as well as deaths. Dow hoped to sell specialty crops along with Enlist Duo in the 2015 U.S. planting season.

The EPA has issued first time restrictions as part of the approval of Enlist Duo. The government branch also stated the process was could be a template for future approvals of herbicides for genetically modified crops (GMO). Dow is required to track and report on weed resistance to their product. The EPA has issued a 30 foot in field no spray zone for application areas. Enlist Duo is also banned from being used when wind speeds are above 15 miles per hour.

The herbicide has been approved for use in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The EPA has 10 other states under consideration for approval for GMOs and the herbicide from Dow. Specialty crops have been genetically modified to tolerate the Enlist Duo herbicide. Enlist corn and soybean will be sold along with the herbicide, as soon as 2015’s planting season. The combination allows farmers to spray their crops and only destroy weeds. The EPA has received over 400,000 comments regarding Enlist and will continue to accept input until November 2014 regarding the other states’ approval.

Concerns from opposing environmentalists, organic consumers, and farmers are running rampant. They claim 2,4-D, which is a component of Enlist, has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, reproductive issues, and other health conditions. Another concern is the possibility that the herbicide may harm neighboring farms. The EPA states it has made the decision based on sound science and conservative measurements. Yet, opponents and neighbors point to over 70 million acres affected by super weeds. These weeds have tolerance to Round up Ready System, which is another herbicide product used by farmers. Moreover, the Natural Defense Council’s lawsuit is an effort to prevent the EPA from allowing Dow to sell Enlist Duo until further tests are done and other agencies are included in the process. According to Sylvia Fallon, a scientist at NRDC, glyphosate has wiped out milk weed, which is a necessary staple for the monarch butterfly and the EPA has not considered this impact prior to approval of Enlist.

The 2,4-D is one of two active ingredients in Agent Orange and when mixed with 2,4,5-T form a highly toxic chemical agent. The chemicals have devastating effects on foliage and people. During the Vietnam War, usage of these chemical agents contributed to horrific birth defects, various forms of cancer, and long-lasting soil contamination. Scientists are split on the effects of 2,4-D alone to humans and animals. It is highly toxic to fish, so keeping it out of rivers and lakes are a valid concern.

The use of 2,4-D may help farms eliminate highly resistant “super weeds” caused by other herbicides. The EPA hopes that by controlling usage and monitoring effects on weeds, U.S. food production will increase with the GMOs. The EPA being sued by the Natural Defense Council is something Dow had not considered. Dow figured the approval had cleared the way for its soybean and corn that have been genetically modified. European Union members and the U.S. have been at odds with regard to modified foods. As a result, this conflict has caused a multi-billion dollar agricultural imbalance. Dow expects to double its earnings from the Dow AgroScience division in seven years or less. Opponents say the approval will just increase the number of intractable weeds. Dow will have to reapply with the agency to sell Enlist after 2020, according to Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

By Oliver L. Malcom, Jr.

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8 Responses to "EPA Sued by Natural Defense Council Over Enlist Duo"

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  7. Alvin Warren   October 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Big corporations like Dow, Monsanto, and others only see the Dollar signs and could care less on what it is doing to “We the People”, our enviroment, and wild life. In my opinion Round up ready crops and any other GMO food altering crap should have never been allowed to be marketed in this country or anywhere. Now the EPA wants to allow yet another hazzardous poison to be used to help further the extinction of this planet. With all the efforts in medical research over the last 20 years or so to bring diseases under control, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, they have increased at an alarming rate instead.Just so happens that the push for GMO grains and the sprays to kill the weeds but not the crops were being introduced about that same 20 or so years ago. COULD THERE BE A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE LAST 20 PLUS YEARS OF GMO FOODS WE’RE FORCED TO EAT AND THE INCREASE IN ILLNESSES IN THIS COUNTRY???
    The answer is I don’t know and can’t say, but it does get the mind to wander in the connection direction. Bottom line, stop the maddness. Do not allow any additional GMO’s and stop the production and use of the GMO’s now in use. Alvin

  8. Marie Page   October 19, 2014 at 12:54 am

    By 2020 there will be no going back, we are getting so far from the balance of nature its devastating the soil. This needs to be stopped now. With articles stating that the US and probably Canada throwing 40% of our food away we could feed all the hungry locally and all this wasted money to stop GMO labeling would help feed the world because anyone who is reading anything these days gets that GMO’s have been a HUGE failure and at what cost!! We will pay one day and it will be before 2020!! Guaranteed!!marie


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