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Approval of New Herbicide Use in Minnesota Challenged

PHOTO: The EPA is being taken to court over its approval of an herbicide for use on genetically engineered soybean and corn crops in Minnesota and 14 other states. The plaintiffs say Enlist Duo poses a threat to human health and endangered species. Photo credit: davef3138/Flickr.
PHOTO: The EPA is being taken to court over its approval of an herbicide for use on genetically engineered soybean and corn crops in Minnesota and 14 other states. The plaintiffs say Enlist Duo poses a threat to human health and endangered species. Photo credit: davef3138/Flickr.
April 22, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A legal battle is being mounted against the Environmental Protection Agency over its expanded approval of a new herbicide for use in Minnesota and other states across the Midwest.

The herbicide from Dow AgroSciences is called Enlist Duo. Legal documents say it contains glyphosate along with 2,4-D - which includes a component also found in the wartime defoliant known as Agent Orange.

"There are many risks associated with the use of Enlist Duo, which is contrary to the agency's duty to ensure that its approvals would not have adverse effects, said Silvia Wu, a staff attorney at the Center for Food Safety, which is among the groups challenging the approval. "The human health and environmental harms are the reasons why we are challenging this decision."

Dow AgroSciences describes Enlist Duo as a "powerful tool for fighting hard-to-control weeds" that features low odor and less potential for drift. But senior scientist Marcia Ishii-Eiteman with the Pesticide Action Network said this powerful new herbicide cocktail will have serious impacts on groundwater, endangered species and those who live and work near the fields where it's applied.

"2,4-D has been linked to birth defects, developmental harms and endocrine disruption as well as cancers like non-Hodgkin's lymphoma," she said. "And now we have the new finding from the World Health Organization that glyphosate is considered a probable carcinogen."

The Center for Food Safety and other members of the coalition had challenged the use of Enlist Duo when it initially was approved for use on genetically engineered corn and soy crops in six states. This latest motion comes as the EPA has expanded where the herbicide can be used to another nine states, including Minnesota.

More information is online at centerforfoodsafety.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN