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U.S. PIRG Toxics Program Director
303-573-5995, ext. 329
U.S. PIRG Field Organizer
Washington, D.C.: Monsanto just announced Friday that they are suing Arkansas State Regulators for banning the use of the herbicide dicamba. U.S. PIRG Education Fund is in support of the Arkansas ban that would limit the use of this pesticide.
Dicamba is an herbicide used for weed control in soybeans and cotton crops. Monsanto introduced the use of the genetically modified dicamba-resistant seeds in 2016. Using these seeds, a farmer can spray the weed-killer directly onto the crop — killing the weeds but not the soybean plant. Dicamba-Ready crops, already in use and on the market, did not go through the regular independent testing procedures, and their approval went unchallenged by the EPA and many state regulators. After Dicamba-Ready seeds hit the market, the use of dicamba skyrocketed.
Monsanto asked the Arkansas state judge to block the Plant Board from enforcing the rule, limiting the use of dicamba, which they adopted last year. This rule limits the use of dicamba, which doesn’t allow it to be used from April 15th - September 15th each year.
Monsanto has ignored the thousands of complaints reported by farmers of total crop loss from the drifting of dicamba. Monsanto, knowing of the reported crop damage in Arkansas, still petitioned the Plant Board to allow its pesticide to be used. Just last year, of the one million acres of dicamba ready soybeans planted, 200,000 acres were damaged. Since mid July, at least 2.5 million acres have been damaged in this past growing season, according to the University of Missouri.
The EPA should now ban the use of dicamba. With little to no control of where the pesticide goes, it can have lasting effects on our crops. Public health is also at risk. With the chemicals spreading onto neighboring farms, we have no assurance that the pesticide is not also spreading to homes, schools and playgrounds as well.
Kara Cook-Schultz, U.S. PIRG Toxics Director stated, “The EPA should ban the use of this pesticide. Dicamba spray is drifting over unknown acres of America, threatening the livelihood of farmers and the health of neighboring communities."
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