Pesticides Intensified

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Public comment is now closed on the the EPA ruling on use of Dow Chemical’s latest GMO related enterprise, Enlist®, an herbicide that combines glyphosate (think RoundUp) and 2 4-D, a new chemical for the U.S. market.

It is looking like the product might hit the fields soon. Mary Clare Jolonick of AP explains:

In the department's final environmental review released last week, the USDA recommended approval. The agency said that if both the seeds and herbicide are approved, the use of 2,4-D could increase by an estimated 200 to 600 percent by the year 2020."

The potential new rule is not without plenty of criticism from folks opposing GMOs:

Critics expressed concern that if the herbicide is approved, weeds will eventually become resistant to it, too. George Naylor, an Iowa farmer who is on the board of the advocacy group Center for Food Safety, called it a "pesticide treadmill" that needs to be slowed down."

Public health groups are concerned, too. Apparently, there has been very little research on the health effects of 2 4-D. Homing in on a specific issue to highlight the bigger problem with this pesticide, Environmental Working Group (EWG) is particularly concerned about the impact that the herbicide will have on elementary schools across the U.S. They’ve created a pretty awesome interactive map showing elementary schools in proximity to areas in which Enlist could potentially be used:

The first six states where the Enlist Duo crop system would be implemented are Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. These states are home to 40 percent of the elementary schools nationwide that are within 200 feet of a corn or soybean field. School children near fields that switch to 2,4-D-resistant crops would be at greater risk of 2,4-D exposure."

If you are concerned about this issue, you may want to take a moment and sign the EWG petition demanding the EPA reject approval of Enlist.

Sources:

 Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson

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