| April 30
April 30 The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency said on Wednesday that it was planning to grant approval
to a new herbicide developed by Dow AgroSciences that is
designed to be used with new genetically engineered corn and
soybeans and combat weed resistance.
The new herbicide, dubbed Enlist Duo, contains a combination
of the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate, and has been heavily
criticized by groups who say commercialization of Enlist will
harm the environment and worsen weed resistance problems.
Regulatory approval of the herbicide and crops have been
delayed for more than a year after the EPA and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, which must grant approval of the
crops genetically engineered to be tolerant of Enlist Duo, were
inundated with pleas to reject Dow's applications.
The USDA said in January it was prepared to grant approval
and is expected to finalize that decision in the next few
And on Wednesday, the EPA said it too was prepared to grant
approval and would accept public comments for 30 days on its
decision. The EPA said it would impose requirements on Dow,
including "robust monitoring and reporting to EPA," grower
education and remediation, and it would "allow EPA to take swift
action to impose additional restrictions on the manufacturer and
the use of the pesticide if resistance develops."
Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, developed
what it calls the Enlist Weed Control System as millions of
acres of farmland have become choked with weeds resistant to
glyphosate, the chief ingredient in the popular Roundup
herbicide sold by Dow rival Monsanto Co..
More than 86 percent of corn, soybean and cotton growers in
the U.S. South and 61 percent in the U.S. Midwest reported
hard-to-control weeds on their farms, according to Dow.
"Enlist Duo herbicide will help solve the weed control
challenges growers are facing and will be another option to
further reduce the potential for development of
herbicide-resistant weeds," said Damon Palmer, Dow's commercial
leader for the U.S. market.
Dow officials have said Enlist corn and soybeans should be
on the market by 2015 - roughly two years after the initial
target launch date. Enlist cotton should follow them at some
point in the future, they added.
Critics say that 2,4-D and other herbicides of its class
have been independently associated with deadly immune system
cancers, Parkinson's disease, endocrine disruption and
"Biotechnology is taking agriculture backwards by
facilitating a massive increase in use of this toxic herbicide,
which formed part of Agent Orange used in Vietnam," said Bill
Freese, a science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety,
a non-profit group that has sought to block approval of the
(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)