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EPA rejects petition to ban popular herbicide

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The Environmental Protection Agency this week denied a request by the National Resources Defense Council that extensively used herbicide 2,4-D be taken off the market. The 2008 petition was denied because the EPA felt that the NRDC did not provide adequate evidence to their claims that the pesticide is indeed harmful to humans.

“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,” said Jim Gray, executive director of the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D research data in a press release. “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.”

According to the New York Times, the NRDC cited studies linking the herbicide to cancer, genetic mutations and hormone disruption, among other maladies. In response, the EPA pulled out a study done by 2,4-D manufacturers and Dow Chemical in which the chemical was found not to cause reproductive harm to rats exposed to it.

The decision comes as Dow Chemical is in the process of getting government approval to release a strain of corn seeds genetically resistant to the herbicide on the market. As reported by the Huffington Post, millions of acres of this corn could be planted as soon as next year if it is approved.

The NRDC is “disappointed that they are not protecting public health by getting this toxic chemical off the market,” according to Mae Wu, a lawyer for the group.

The public has until the end of this month (April 27, to be exact) to submit comments regarding the corn decision at the Center For Food Safety