The EPA said Wednesday it is registering the herbicide Enlist Duo for use in controlling weeds in corn and soybeans genetically-engineered to tolerate 2,4-D and glyphosate. This is the final step in the regulatory process for the product.
According to the EPA, the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate are two of the most widely used herbicides in the world for controlling weeds. Dozens of other countries including Canada, Mexico, Japan and 26 European Union members also have approved the herbicides for various uses.
Last year, Canada approved the use of Enlist Duo for the same uses that EPA is authorizing.
Dow AgroSciences' companion corn and soybean traits that will be used with the Enlist Duo herbicide were deregulated by the USDA on Sept. 17.
With regulatory approvals now in place for Enlist corn and soybean traits and Enlist Duo herbicide, Dow AgroSciences will release its 2015 market intentions for Enlist in the coming weeks, the company said.
According to EPA assessments, the approved uses of the product meet the safety standards for pesticide registration and, as approved, will be protective of the public, agricultural workers, and non-target species, including endangered species.
Evaluations examined risks to all age groups and took into account exposures through food, water, pesticide drift, and as a result of use around homes, EPA said. The decision meets the Food Quality Protection Act standard of "reasonable certainty of no harm" to human health.
The approved formulation contains the choline salt of 2,4-D which is less prone to drift than the other forms of 2,4-D. The Agency has also put in place restrictions to avoid pesticide drift, including a 30-foot in-field "no spray" buffer zone around the application area, no pesticide application when the wind speed is over 15 mph, and only ground applications are permitted. This action provides an additional tool for the agricultural community to manage resistant weeds.
"This is a great day for American agriculture," Parkersburg, Iowa, farmer Rick DeGroote said in a statement from Dow. "Access to tools like Enlist is what keeps American agriculture leading the globe when it comes to productivity and a safe food supply."
American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser commented that the product will improve control of yield-robbing weeds, but farmers are also seeking trait approval from other countries for improved trade.
"We now look to our key export partners to approve this trait so that we can realize the full market potential of this product, without fear of jeopardizing our trading relationships with partially approved traits," Gaesser said.
To ensure that weeds will not become resistant to 2,4-D and continue increased herbicide use, EPA is imposing a new, robust set of requirements on the registrant.
These requirements include extensive surveying and reporting to EPA, grower education and remediation plans. The registration will expire in six years, allowing EPA to revisit the issue of resistance. In the future, the agency intends to apply this approach to weed resistance management for all existing and new herbicides used on herbicide tolerant crops.
This assessment is the third time in recent years that EPA has evaluated the safety of 2,4-D and the safety finding is consistent with past assessments that EPA has performed for 2,4-D.
EPA comprehensively reviewed 2,4-D in 2005, and once more in 2012 and now again in 2014 in response to the current application.
EPA is registering the pesticide in six states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The agency is accepting comments until Nov. 14, 2014, on whether to register Enlist Duo in ten more states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota.