News on Wellness

Farmers Awaiting Ruling by EPA on New Controversial Weed Killer

weed-killerFaced with more resistant and tougher weeds, soybean and corn farmers are anxiously awaiting decisions by the government on a popular herbicide’s new version and on seeds that have been genetically modified to grow crops that are designed to resist it.

However, critics say additional studies are needed on the different effects of the new herbicide and are concerned it might endanger the health of the public.

The EPA will rule this fall on an application by Dow AgroSciences to market Enlist, the new version of a well know herbicide 2,4-D that has been used since the late 1940s.

The agricultural industry is trying to play catch up as many U.S. farmers now have weeds that are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, which is commonly used on soybeans and corn now.

If the new herbicide is approved it would be used together with the glyphosate.

A Department of Agricultural decision on the genetically modified seeds should also be released this fall. In the final environmental review by the department released a week ago, the USDA recommended its approval.

The agency has said that both the herbicide and seeds have been approved.

While the USDA only is overseeing safety of plants, the EPA is what oversees the safety of an herbicide for environmental and human health.

The agency already has found that the chemical is safe on several occasions for other species, as well as for agricultural workers and the public.

Groups that have lobbied the agency in an attempt to prevent the expanded herbicide’s use, say their concerns are about the toxic effects the herbicide will have and the potential for it to move. Soybeans and corn are the largest crops in the nation and the potential for the herbicide to have expanded use is very large.

2,4-D is currently used for other crops including on wheat, on pastures and on lawn of homes. It is the most popular herbicide worldwide and the third most popular in the U.S. behind glyphosate and atrazine.

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