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Environment

EPA approves dicamba use on modified crops

by Britt E. Erickson
November 14, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 45

EPA has cleared the way for the Monsanto herbicide dicamba (3,6-​dichloro-​2-methoxybenzoic acid) to be used on soybeans and cotton that have been genetically modified to tolerate the chemical. Both EPA and Monsanto claim that the product, sold under the name Xtendimax with Vapor Grip Technology, has lower volatility than other dicamba formulations that were allegedly used illegally in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee earlier this year. More than 100 farmers filed complaints over the summer against their neighbors, claiming that illegally sprayed dicamba drifted onto their property and damaged soybeans that were not engineered to tolerate it. The situation escalated and a farmer in Arkansas was shot and killed over an alleged dispute about dicamba. EPA says that it is still investigating whether dicamba was used illegally. USDA previously approved the sale of soybeans that tolerate dicamba, but farmers could not legally use the herbicide on the soybeans until EPA gave its stamp of approval. Environmental groups are concerned that use of dicamba on the two crops will lead to a jump in the herbicide’s use and harm to endangered species.

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