Responding to a lawsuit brought by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, the EPA announced it is revoking the registration of Enlist Duo, a toxic combination of glyphosate (Roundup) and 2,4-D – an ingredient in Agent Orange. Approved by the agency a year ago, Dow’s Enlist Duo was created for use on the next generation of genetically engineered crops, as an answer to the growing problem of weeds that are resistant to glyphosate. It was being employed on a new generation of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to tolerate sprays of both herbicides.
The EPA had approved use of Enlist Duo in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and had intended to approve it in additional areas in the near future.
The EPA discovered Dow had been reporting different safety information to different government agencies. Several environmental groups argued that combining the two chemicals could result in new synergistic toxic effects that the EPA had ignored.
In the course of that litigation, the EPA discovered that Dow had been telling the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a different story than the one they had heard – that the mixture was no more toxic than the two chemicals if considered separately.
Dow’s patent application for Enlist Duo claimed that this mixture of chemicals does, in fact, offer farmers something new: “synergistic herbicidal weed control.” In other words, the combination of chemicals is likely significantly more harmful than the EPA had been told.
Dow has reported they are working with EPA to provide assurance that the product is safe. Canada approved the use of Enlist Duo last year.