EWG Response to EPA Approval of Enlist Duo

The EWG shares its thoughts about the EPA’s decision to take a second look at Enlist Duo.

Posted on | By Mary Ellen Kustin
What Should I Look Out For?

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking a second look at Dow AgroSciences’ new weed killer – marketed as “Enlist Duo” – because the toxic spray may be more dangerous than it thought.

Last year, the EPA approved the weed poison for use on genetically engineered crops, or GMOs, even though Dr. Oz and more than 120,000 people had submitted a petition to President Obama demanding that he block the approval.

Enlist Duo is a mixture of two toxic herbicides, glyphosate and 2,4-D. Earlier this year, an international organization of leading cancer experts classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Scientists had previously linked 2,4-D to cancer and Parkinson’s disease. 

It turns out that the EPA didn’t realize until recently that in combination, the two herbicides might be more powerful and more toxic than each one is on its own – even though Dow patented the weed killer, in part, for these “synergistic” effects. 

Now the agency has moved to retract its approval, giving it a second chance to get the science right.

If the EPA had listened to the warnings from EWG and other environmental and public health advocates in the first place and considered what would happen when glyphosate and 2,4-D were blended together, the federal regulators might not have allowed farmers to expose people – especially kids – to potentially unsafe levels of the two weed killers. Moreover, the agency did not apply an additional safety factor to protect children’s health – as required by law – when it calculated how much Enlist Duo is too much. That means the allowed level of exposure could well be dangerously high. 

And that’s not all. Right now, some members of Congress are trying to sneak the worst parts of the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act into a year-end spending bill. The DARK Act would keep Americans from knowing whether their food contains GMO ingredients, which increase the use of toxic weed killers like Enlist Duo.

Washington needs to hear from people who want to know how their food is grown. Click here to tell your members of Congress to oppose the DARK Act and support mandatory GMO labeling.

Article written by Mary Ellen Kustin
EWG Senior Policy Analyst