In a filing with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, EcoWatch reports the EPA announced it had received new information from the manufacturer of Enlist Duo that it is probably more toxic to other plants than was previously thought.
The EPA said it “might not have issued the existing registration had it been aware” of the new information when it approved the product a year ago to be used on new strains of genetically modified corn and soybeans.
The federal agency is asking the court for the authority to withdraw approval of the herbicide while they reconsider the new information, including whether a wider buffer zone is needed to protect non-targeted plants.
Dow’s Enlist Duo received approval from the EPA in October of 2014 for use in six states. In March of this year, the EPA approved the herbicide’s use in nine additional states. The GMO seeds resist the herbicide so fields can be sprayed when plants emerge. The plants are not harmed but weeds are killed.
The court filing by the EPA was welcomed by many environmental and food safety groups that have sued in court to have the herbicide’s approval rescinded. But losing approval for Enlist Duo already has many in the agricultural industry worried because a number of weeds have become resistant to glyphosate.
Enlist Duo have a combination of glyphosate and a new version of an old herbicide, called 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) plus an unknown number of unlisted ingredients. Interestingly, 2,4-D is the most widely used pesticide in the world.
On Tuesday, EPA lawyers, in responding to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental groups, told the court that Dow AgroSciences had withheld data that the mix of chemicals had “synergistic effects.” In other words, the mix of glyphosate, 2,4-D and other unlisted ingredients increased the toxicity of the product to plants and other living things.
The World Heath Organization (WHO) has listed Monsanto’s glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen and 2,4-D as possibly carcinogenic to humans. The use of glyphosates has exploded in the U.S. as farmers have adopted GMO crops. If Dow is allowed to sell Enlist Duo, then crops may be doused with both glyphosate and 2,4-D.