Thursday, April 19, 2012

EPA Upholds 2-4-D

This particular pesticide has been a major force in crop management and all potential replacements are way more troublesome.  I have reservations regarding roundup in particular because it is likely causation for the amphibian die-off.  I am getting tired of the attacks aimed at various useful protocols without any attempt whatsoever to propose a replacement or creditable alternative.

I just mentioned my reservations on round up, but that does not mean that it cannot be applied.  What it does mean though is that it should be applied only once every several years.  Since it suppresses grasses and these will not be reintroduced willingly, the seed bed should easily be kept weed free there after.  It is the negligent overuse of these agents that drives problems.

If I were converting a field to organic farming, the last thing I would do before starting is to apply roundup to effectively sterilize the soil.  This way the transition over four years to organic will not be outright impeded by the contained weed regime.  I suspect that present conversions are all on soils that have had a successful process of soils sterilization underway for years.  That makes organic practices fairly doable.

Once the weed grasses are successfully suppressed, then 2-4-D comes into its own.  Every spring you merely wait for the year's crop of broad leaf weeds to grow almost to flowering and then douse them.  That cleans out the grain field. 

Off course, it may make good sense today to actually grow canola with the wheat and harvest both at the same time.  The resultant grain will have to be separated, but that is normally called cleaning.  That way the broadleaf canola would suppress all other weeds as it does today as and outright weed.

The real take home here is that it takes originally sterile soils and effective protocols using more than one plant type in order to sustain a weed free  field.

The enemy of berry production happens to be couch grass which will choke out the canes in a couple of years, or keep a hoeing crew in the field permanently.  Modern berry production is surely the result of the successful eradication of wild grasses. 

It really is that big a battle.  Thus it is hard to be sympathetic when challenges are thrown out that call for a full cessation of application without recognizing the problem solved.

EPA Denies NRDC Petition on 2,4-D – Confirms safety of tolerances

(Kansas City, MO, April 10, 2012-AgNewsWire) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced its denial of the 2008 petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeking to cancel 2,4-D herbicide registrations and revoke all the tolerances for use.

“The impact of this decision should not be understated,” said Jim Gray, executive director of the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data. “EPA’s comprehensive review of one of the most extensive scientific data bases of a pesticide confirmed the Agency’s previous finding that the 2,4-D tolerances are acceptable.”

In its most recent decision, the EPA stated: “After considering public comment received on the petition and all the available studies, including a state-of-the-science one-generation reproduction study, EPA is denying the request to revoke all tolerances and the request to cancel all registrations.”

“This has been one of the most widely used and successful herbicides in history and growers along with other users around the U.S. and the world can continue to use it with confidence”, added Gray. “EPA’s most recent decision is consistent with findings of other authorities such as the World Health Organization, Health Canada ’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the European Commission.”

The US EPA conducted a thorough evaluation of all of the available information, including GLP studies, peer-reviewed studies, as well as the anecdotal information submitted by the pressure groups. This determination follows the 2005 Re-registration Eligibility Decision which encompassed 17 years of scientific evaluation.


EPA Statements in Rejecting the NRDC Petition

·        “The one-gen study provides an in-depth examination of 2,4-D’s potential for endocrine disruptor, neurotoxic, and immunotoxic effects. This study and EPA’s comprehensive review confirmed EPA’s previous finding that the 2,4-D tolerances are safe.”

·        “Based on studies addressing endocrine effects on wildlife species and the adequacy of personal protective equipment for workers, the Agency concluded that the science behind our current ecological and worker risk assessments for 2,4-D is sound and there is no basis to change the registrations.”


About 2,4-D and the Research Task Force

2,4-D, one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. and worldwide, is applied to crops such as wheat, corn, rice, soybeans, potatoes, sugar cane, pome fruits, stone fruits and nuts. It controls invasive species in pastures, aquatic areas and federally protected areas and broadleaf weeds in turf grass. An economic evaluation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (NAPIAP Report 1-PA-96) concluded that the loss of 2,4-D would cost the U.S. economy $1.7 billion annually in higher food production and weed control expenses. 2,4-D is a critical tool in the integrated management of herbicide resistant weeds in crops.

The 2,4-D Task Force is made up of those companies owning the technical registrations on the active ingredient in 2,4-D herbicides. They are Dow AgroSciences ( USA ), Nufarm, Ltd. ( Australia ) and Agro-Gor Corporation ( USA & Argentina ).

The Task Force does not conduct the research required by EPA and other pesticide regulators; it simply funds the scientific research needed to meet all agency requirements. All research funded by the Task Force is conducted under stringent Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) requirements.

EPA’s decision and other resources pertaining to 2,4-D may be found at:

And at:


For additional information, contact:


Jim Gray, Executive Director

Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data




Highlights of 2,4-D Herbicide’s 67-year History
1945 –    U.S. Patent No 2,390,941 is issued for 2,4-D to plant physiologist Dr. Franklin D. Jones of the American Chemical Paint Company.
1964 –    54 million pounds of 2,4-D produced as farmers and homeowners alike discover the benefits of effective weed control. Studies at the time found that weeds typically destroyed 30 – 35 percent of crop yields.
1970 –    Plant scientists continue to find new uses for 2,4-D in protecting crops, such as plant growth regulator on potatoes and weed control for blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries.
1986 –    EPA issues preliminary notification of Special Review.
1988 –    Beginning of reregistration data development by the 2,4-D Task Force and review by EPA.
1996 –    World Health Organization completes its toxicological review of 2,4-D and determines the compound does not present a risk to human health.
2001 –    European Commission completes its toxicological and environmental assessment of 2,4-D and states “. . .that the plant protection products containing 2,4-D will fulfill the safety requirements laid down in the Directive 91/414/EEC.”
2004 –    The Henry Ford organization in
 Dearborn , Michigan declares 2,4-D one of the 75 most important innovations in the previous 75 years.
2005 –    Health
 Canada ’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) issues “Proposed Acceptability for Continued Registration” and determines 2,4-D can be used safely on lawn and turf when label directions are followed.
2005 –    EPA releases 2,4-D Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED). EPA’s review of human health and environmental data concludes that the use of 2,4-D does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health when product instructions are followed.
2007 –    EPA determines the existing data do not support a conclusion that links human cancer to 2,4-D exposure and issues “Decision Not to Initiate a Special Review” after more than 21 years of research and agency review.
2008 –    PMRA issues final re-evaluation decision on 2,4-D and determines it is safe to use according to label directions.
2012 –    EPA rejects NRDC petition: “. . . the Agency concluded that the science behind our current ecological and worker risk assessments for 2,4-D is sound and there is no basis to change the registrations.”

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