Market News & Headlines >> EPA Approves Enlist Duo Herbicide

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday gave its final approval to Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Duo herbicide, but ordered a series of “first-time-ever restrictions” on the approval to address widespread environmental and health concerns.

Enlist Duo was the subject of broad opposition that led to extended safety reviews by USDA and EPA officials. Opposition centered primarily on the potential damage to crops not resistant to 2, 4-D, one of the two main chemicals in Enlist Duo and the potential threat to human health from 2, 4-D.

The EPA said in a press release that its decision reflected a large body of science and that agency scientists used "highly conservative and protective assumptions to evaluate human health and ecological risks" of the new uses for 2, 4-D in Enlist Duo. The agency said those uses meet safety standards for pesticide registration “and, as approved, will be protective of the public, agricultural workers, and non-target species, including endangered species”.

In order to ensure that weeds won’t become resistant to 2, 4-D, the EPA imposed a “robust” set of requirements on Dow, including “extensive surveying and reporting to EPA, grower education and remediation plans”, the agency said in a news release. The registration for the herbicide will expire in six years, allowing EPA to “revisit” the issue of resistance. The agency indicated that it intends to follow this approach to weed resistance management for future approvals of all existing and new herbicides intended for herbicide tolerant crops.

EPA also set a number of usage restrictions on Enlist Duo, specifiying that only ground applications are allowed, ordered a 30-foot in-field "no spray" buffer zone around application areas and banned use of the pesticide when wind speeds are over 15 miles per hour.