Will Lawyers Rule Pesticides?

Several recent developments in the pesticide area represent disturbing examples of how the environmentalists pay little attention to scientific facts. As a result, several pesticides and genetically modified organism (GMO) corn hybrids are under increased fire from lawyers and governmental agencies that could impact no-tillers.

  • In early April, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) called for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to end its approval of 2,4-D. Introduced more than 60 years ago, the group contends it disrupts estrogen and testosterone levels in humans, which leads to human reproduction and child brain development concerns.

Unfortunately, some sources indicate the EPA may be listening, even though the government agency re-approved 2,4-D 18 months ago and there is no new evidence of concerns. While farm groups believe there is no cost-effective replacement, the NRDC maintains that shifting to no-till (already one of the biggest users of 2,4-D), pulling weeds by hand or using glyphosate could be logical substitutes.

  • A class-action lawsuit filed in 2004 to ban the use of atrazine in a sanitary district in Illinois continues to be battled in the courts by Syngenta Crop Protection lawyers. Since both U.S. and Illinois government agencies have a standard for atrazine levels in drinking water of 3 parts per billion — a level that carries a 1,000-fold safety factor — Syngenta maintains local agencies should not set different standards. Atrazine was re-registered in 2006 after a 12-year safety review.
  • In mid-April, Germany banned Monsanto’s MON810 GMO Bt corn, deeming it a danger to…
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Lessiter_frank

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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