Emergency Dicamba Ban Nears
In response to dozens of new complaints of misuse of the highly toxic and drift-prone pesticide dicamba, an Arkansas regulatory committee today recommended an emergency ban of the controversial pesticide that has spurred three lawsuits and a dispute that led to the murder of an Arkansas farmer.
If the Arkansas Pesticide Committee’s recommendation is approved on Tuesday by the Arkansas State Plant Board, as well as by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the ban on in-crop uses of the pesticide will be immediate.
“What we’re seeing in Arkansas is proof of what we all already knew — that this dangerous, drift-prone pesticide is not safe to use,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Assurances from pesticide makers that new dicamba products and tighter application regulations would end the drift problems that damaged hundreds of thousands of acres simply ignored reality.”
As of today Arkansas regulators have received 87 complaints of dicamba misuse this spring. Missouri regulators are also already reporting complaints about damaging drift from applications of the toxic pesticide. Missouri led the nation last year with more than 200 dicamba-related complaints.
Earlier this month dicamba drift ruined more than 100 acres at an Arkansas agricultural research station plot, where conditions are tightly controlled.
The dicamba-drift problems began last year when Monsanto released soybean and cotton seeds that had been genetically altered to resist the pesticide.
But new, supposedly less drift-prone formulations of dicamba were unavailable for use last year, prompting farmers using the new seeds to turn to older, more drift-prone dicamba products — thus triggering the hundreds of reports of damage that have spurred the three suits against pesticide makers.
“This dicamba crisis is only the latest evidence that dumping more pesticides on the landscape is a road to nowhere,” said Donley. “And it’s only going to get worse — Monsanto predicts that annual dicamba use on soybeans and cotton will jump from less than 1 million pounds just a few years ago to more than 25 million over the next three to four years.”
Source: Center for Biological Diversity