A federal appellate court has now given Dow Chemical Company the green light to revive World War Two-era, weed-killing chemicals that will be sprayed on our crops to an even greater degree than the ones currently in use.
According to Dow, its latest weedkiller, Enlist Duo, a toxic combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate chemicals, offers “unrivaled weed control.” But what the company doesn’t tell you is that the formulation came about because glyphosate was proving to be a drastic failure on crops across the globe.
An estimated 25 million farm workers are exposed to deadly pesticides annually, and almost all of us are exposed via the food we eat. Nonetheless, government agencies such as the EPA and USDA, as well as biotech players Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, and Dow Chemical want to keep feeding us more poison.
At some point, the EPA said it wanted to rethink the use of the toxic herbicide, Enlist Duo, but with pressure from Dow, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s request to vacate its own scientists’ 2014 approval of the Dow herbicide. The order was given in three sentences, with no explanation behind the approval of this health-damaging concoction that is linked to reproductive health concerns and cancer, among other important environmental concerns.
Farmers who have realized their weeds are now impervious to glyphosate – often finding super weeds waist high – will now be able to spray them with a known carcinogen since the 1940’s, 2,4-D. Only it will be augmented with yet another probable carcinogen – glyphosate.
2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, commonly known as 2,4-D, is a widely used herbicide in the phenoxy (or phenoxyacetic acid) class of chemicals. It can cause genetic mutation, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, and more.
Enlist Duo, the EPA, and Legal Fun
The EPA originally allowed Dow’s Enlist Due even after being presented with evidence of kidney damage unearthed by Dow’s own researchers. This allowed Americans to be exposed to up to 41 times the 2,4-D via their diets than was previously considered safe. There is evidence that the EPA hid documents in order to allow Dow to manufacture Enlist Duo to begin with.
A complaint filed by a coalition of family farm and environmental groups began the case before the appellate court, which argued that the EPA had failed to assess risks of the chemicals for human health and endangered species.
Dow came back in a court ruling with its version of the story, which was that the EPA was illegally avoiding the regulatory process for allowing a pesticide to get to market. Normally that process involved hearings, a notice to the secretary of agriculture, and a mandatory analysis of the impact on retail food prices and the farm economy. In a legal filing, Dow accused the EPA of trying to short-circuit the responsibilities assigned to the agency by Congress.
Dow claims ‘heightened potency’ for Enlist Duo, claiming in court filings that it abandoned a synergy patent for the combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate “when a thorough review of all the data generated found the synergies were not present in the final formulation selected for Enlist Duo.”
Dow was so sure that it could quickly resolve the EPA’s concerns about endangered plants that the title of a November news release read: “Dow Expects Enlist Duo to be Available for the 2016 U.S. Crop Season.”
Furthermore, Dow only abandoned the patent a year after the EPA approved Enlist Duo and only after the agency had requested Dow’s synergy data. Odd too, that Dow Chemical Company is pushing for approval of this toxic concoction when Monsanto’s Round Up Ready crop patents are expiring as well.
“Dow obviously knew, by the time EPA registered Enlist Duo in October 2014, the formulation EPA had selected, but Dow did nothing to withdraw its patent claim until loss of the Enlist Duo registration was at stake,” the coalition argued.
In a written statement, the EPA said it is “reconsidering Enlist Duo’s registration.” Why, with its known health-damaging effects, the agency would consider allowing it at all is the real question.
“The agency is awaiting new data from the manufacturer and will review that information to determine next steps,” the agency said.
The EPA has consistently said it believes that 2,4-D is safe for humans. That’s odd since it was a main ingredient in Agent Orange which still affects thousands of people 51 years after the Vietnam War.
As is popularly known, the other main ingredient in Enlist Duo is glyphosate, with mountains of research pointing to the fact that it is probably carcinogenic to humans. Dow may have a potent weed-killer, but it also has created a potent way to destroy human and environmental health.
The EPA should stand by its original misgivings about the product, and take action. The judge from the appellate court gave no reason why it approved such a toxic herbicide, but this wouldn’t be the first time a high court was infiltrated by the Big Ag industry.
We don’t need more chemicals. We need to give our plants more nutrition and heal our soil. You can bet that these facts are never discussed in Big Ag meetings.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.