(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2017) You told the Arkansas Plant Board to exercise its authority to protect farmers, consumers, and the environment from use of the herbicide dicamba on genetically engineered (GE) soybeans, and the board listened. Now, we need to ask the board to stop the use of 2,4-D on GE cotton. The action of states is critical as the federal government ignores basic safety concerns. Action in Arkansas will influence other states.
The decision concerning 2,4-D use on herbicide-tolerant cotton goes to the Arkansas Plant Board on December 12. The choice has many similarities to the decision to allow — and then prohibit — the use of dicamba on herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties. Both 2,4-D and dicamba are phenoxy herbicides — 2,4-D being the infamous ingredient (along with 2,4,5-T) of Agent Orange. Our voices were heard when the Arkansas Plant Board considered dicamba, so please weigh in on 2,4-D.
At this December 12 meeting, the Arkansas Plant Board is holding a hearing on a proposed regulation that would allow the Board to request more information from pesticide registrants, which could support restrictions based on conditions within Arkansas. The proposed regulation is a straightforward authorization to seek further information, with a requirement to disclose how it is used. Arkansas law allows the state to restrict or prohibit use of a pesticide to prevent unreasonable adverse effects caused by drift.
Both phenoxy herbicides (2,4-D and dicamba) are noted for their propensity to drift — both as droplets during application and as vapor afterward. Their application causes a wide range of health effects, as well as environmental impacts. Broad-leaved crops, including soybeans, non-GE cotton, grapes, and vegetables are susceptible to damage by phenoxy herbicides. The State of Arkansas has a growing wine industry that deserves to be protected from 2,4-D drift. The proposed rule will enable the state to request information from registrants that enables it to protect farms and communities more effectively from drift.
Like dicamba in soybeans, 2,4-D use in cotton represents movement in the wrong direction — toward harm to productivity and ecosystem services. Reliance on toxic herbicides and GE crops has failed farmers in a world where organic production is a viable alternative. The predictable problems associated with 2,4-D can and should be avoided.
Thank you for taking action!