2, 4-D: How Safe Is It?


We’ve been closely following the approval process of the latest pesticide cocktail proposed which could hit our fields in just over a year, and as we get down to the final days of the USDA decision, we’re finding more information that is worth sharing.

Elizabeth Grossman at Science Blogs gives an excellent synopsis of some of the science and facts behind 2,4-D. If you haven’t read up on this dangerous pesticide, then this is an excellent primer. Grossman explains a number of things including that 2,4-D, which is going to market because of weeds that have become resistant to the currently most popular pesticide, glyphosate, has already begun to create weeds that are resistant to it:

The bottom line is essentially that as weeds develop resistance, the more herbicide is needed to control them. As Washington State University research professor and agricultural scientist Charles Benbrook pointed out in his comments to EPA, “There are now more than two-dozen glyphosate-resistant weeds covering perhaps 70+ million acres.” 2,4D resistant weeds have already been reported in the Midwest."

She also explains some of the public health concerns, which, as she explains, are worrisome, despite the EPA’s seal of approval:

A DowAgro Sciences material safety data sheet for 2,4-D says people should not reenter fields for at least 12 hours after the herbicide has been applied. It also says “do not permit lactating dairy animals to graze fields within 7 days after application,” to withdraw meat animals from treated fields at least 3 days before slaughter,  not to harvest “forage within 30 days of application” or harvest “treated mature crop” within 60 days of application. Incidental damage to vegetable crops is also a potential problem."

Grossman elaborates on a number of other concerning facts about 2,4-D, including ways in which it can affect the human thyroid and the rate at which its use is expected to increase if it receives USDA approval.

If you are inspired to action by any of this information, momentum against the EPA's approval is growing - you can take action here: 


Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson

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