Monday, November 19, 2018

EPA extends use of Monsanto’s controversial pesticide dicamba on GM soybean and cotton plants

"Simply adding more use restrictions to an uncontrollable pesticide that already comes with 39 pages of instructions and limitations reflects a broken process."

Image Credit: Pesticide Action Network

Monsanto comes out a winner after the EPA decided to extend the use of the ‘dangerous drift-prone pesticide,’ dicamba. While the extension comes with new restrictions, many environmentalists don’t believe it will stop the problem of dicamba drifting in the wind when sprayed and harming non-resistant crops and plants.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), dicamba has damaged around five million acres of crops, trees and gardens over the past two years.

“The Trump EPA’s reckless re-approval of this dangerous poison ignores the facts on the ground and damage across millions of acres,” Nathan Donley, CBD senior scientist, said. “Simply adding more use restrictions to an uncontrollable pesticide that already comes with 39 pages of instructions and limitations reflects a broken process. Pesticide regulation has been hijacked by pesticide makers.”

The new restrictions include:

  • 45 days after planting – Application to soybean crops must end 45 days after planting and for cotton 60 days after planting.
  • Certification status – A certified applicator must apply the pesticide.
  • Endangered species – There must be a 57 foot spraying buffer around fields where endangered species may be present.
  • Application hours – The previous restriction allowed the pesticides be applied between sunrise and sunset. In its revised extension, the EPA has furthered the restriction to one hour after sunrise and two hours before sunset.

While the controversial pesticide is debatable among farmers, the CBD claims that not just non-Monsanto crops are at risk – wildlife could most likely be harmed including monarch butterflies from dicamba. EcoWatch reported that “a CBD report found that more than 60 million acres of monarch habitat will be sprayed with dicamba by next year, threatening both the flowering plants needed by the migrating adult butterflies and the milkweed that is the caterpillars’ only food source.”

“It’s going to take far stronger action to curb dicamba’s well-documented dangers to non-target plants and wildlife like monarch butterflies,” Donley said.

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