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Environment

EPA Approves Duo Herbicide

by Britt E. Erickson
October 20, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 42

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Credit: Scott Bauer
A newly approved mix of two herbicides can be used on soybeans, above, or corn that is genetically modified to resist both substances.
09242-govcon-soybeanscxd.jpg
Credit: Scott Bauer
A newly approved mix of two herbicides can be used on soybeans, above, or corn that is genetically modified to resist both substances.

EPA has given Dow AgroSciences the green light to sell Enlist Duo, a mixture of the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate. The controversial cocktail is intended to be used with corn or soybeans that have been genetically modified to resist the herbicides. Several environmental and consumer advocacy groups are opposed to EPA’s decision, claiming that 2,4-D has been linked to thyroid problems, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, decreased sperm count, and Parkinson’s disease. One group, the Center for Food Safety, says it will pursue legal options to stop commercialization of the product. Opponents of the new mixture also argue that commercialization of 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybeans will lead to “super weeds” that are resistant to both 2,4-D and glyphosate. Many weeds are already resistant to glyphosate after extensive use of that herbicide over the past 15 years. EPA says that uses of the new mixture “meet the safety standards for pesticide registration.” The agency is also enacting, for the first time ever, restrictions, such as surveying and reporting requirements, to better manage the problem of weed resistance.

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