(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2007) The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent decision not to go through with a Special Review of 2,4-D’s carcinogenic properties is being touted by industry as the final word that the toxic chemical “has been found to have no human carcinogenic effects,” despite significant evidence to the contrary. The Special Review has been cancelled after an industry task force poured millions of dollars into industry funded research and a public relations campaign.
The pesticide 2,4-D, or 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, was first slated by EPA for Special Review in 1986. A few years later in a unique move, several large pesticides companies with a common interest in keeping 2,4-D on the market formed the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data.
Since then, the task force reports it has funded nearly $30 million in new research on the chemical. Industry funded research is often biased and influential in the regulatory process. The results are reported to EPA, which provides a large portion of the data the agency relies on in order to make decisions under an inadequate risk assessment review process. The task force is currently comprised of the major pesticide producers Dow AgroSciences (U.S.), Nufarm Ltd. (Australia) and Agro-Gor Corp., a U.S. corporation jointly owned by Atanor, S.A. (Argentina) and PBI-Gordon Corp. (U.S.).
However while industry has been pouring millions into and making much more off of 2,4-D, several independent studies show the chemical is carcinogenic. Research links 2,4-D to various cancers, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (see “EPA Decides Not To Initiate Special Review for 2,4-D Cancer Risk“). Additionally, 2,4-D is a probable endocrine disruptor slated for the first tier of review under EPA’s long awaited screening program, can cause reproductive and developmental effects, neurotoxicity, kidney/liver damage, and is a sensitizer/irritant. Environmental effects of the chemical include leaching, groundwater contamination and toxicity to fish, birds and bees. 2,4-D is the third most widely used herbicide in the U.S. and the most widely used worldwide.
TAKE ACTION: Let the Bush Administration know that politics should not trump sound science. Tell EPA what you think about its decision to not initiate a Special Review for 2,4-D, despite overwhelming evidence of its carcinogenicity. Contact EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson by email or call 202-564-4700.