From Green Right Now Reports
Just in time for weed-and-feed season, the Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to stop the use of the weed killed known as 2,4-D.
This neurotoxic chemical, infamous as a key ingredient in Agent Orange, is still allowed in products used to treat lawns, golf courses and in commercial operations.
Recently, 2,4-D also was in the news as one chemical company’s solution to combat Roundup-resistant weeds in corn production. Dow Agrosciences has proposed a genetically modified corn seed and plant that would be resistant to 2,4-D. That would enable agriculture operations to use this neurotoxic chemical to keep weeds at bay in corn fields, instead of relying on Monsanto’s Roundup, which is losing its effectiveness according to several news accounts.
The World War II-era chemical is used on many other crops, such as soybean, rice and sugar cane, to kill weeds and improve yields.
But the NRDC argues that the EPA should ban the use of this chemical, which has long been linked to increased cancer rates, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The NRDC lawsuit, filed in federal court, also argues that 2,4-D has been implicated in causing human cell damage, severe hormonal disruption, reproductive problems and birth defects.
“This dangerous pesticide is lurking all over the place – from ball fields and golf courses, to front lawns and farms – exposing an enormous amount of the American public to cancer and other serious health risks,” said NRDC senior scientist Dr. Gina Solomon in a statement. “There’s no reason to continue allowing a toxic Agent Orange-ingredient in the places our children play, our families live and our farmers work. EPA must step up and finally put a stop to it.”
Forty-six million pounds of 2,4-D are still used every year in the United States for weed-and-feed products used on lawns, playgrounds, and golf courses, as well as for agricultural uses, the NRDC reports.
The herbicide lingers in the soil for a month and can be absorbed through the skin, which makes it a threat to children and pets. It washes off lawns in rainwater runoff and has turne back up as a contaminant found in drinking water, according to the environmental group.
The NRDC is asking that the EPA respond to its 2008 petition to cancel registrations that allow companies to sell 2, 4-D and revoke the agency-determined tolerances, which set allowable limits for contamination.
- Read more at the NRDC fact sheet for 2, 4-D or at Gina Solomon’s blog. Dr. Solomon is a senior scientist at the non-profit environmental group.