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Dicamba use on GMO crops proposed

by Cheryl Hogue
April 11, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 15

Credit: Shutterstock
EPA is proposing to allow dicamba use on GMO cotton crops.
Picture of a cotton field.
Credit: Shutterstock
EPA is proposing to allow dicamba use on GMO cotton crops.

As effectiveness of glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, declines and concern over its adverse health effects increases, the pesticide dicamba may be coming to the fore. At the request of Monsanto, EPA on April 1 proposed to register dicamba for use on cotton and soybeans that are genetically modified to tolerate this benzoic acid-based herbicide. EPA says dicamba, which is already registered for other applications, would be used to control weeds that have developed resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and its generic competitors. “When used according to label directions, dicamba is safe for everyone, including infants, the developing fetus, the elderly, and more highly exposed groups such as agricultural workers,” EPA says. In contrast, concerns about glyphosate’s health effects are growing, with the World Health Organization declaring in 2015 that the chemical is a “probable carcinogen.” The agency proposes that the registration for dicamba on genetically modified crops last only for five years. EPA would then examine any unexpected weed resistance before extending or terminating the registration.


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