Washington, D.C. – Fifty members of Congress are standing up for children’s health by urging the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture to reject a new toxic weed killer, “Enlist DuoTM,” and the genetically engineered seeds that would be used with it.
Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) organized a “dear colleague" letter that highlights the serious health risks linked to exposure of 2,4-D – the toxic herbicide that Dow Agrosciences combined with glyphosate to create Enlist Duo. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the infamous weed killer Roundup.
Enlist Duo would be used on millions of acres of cropland planted with a new variety of corn and soybean seeds that have been genetically engineered to tolerate Enlist Duo. EPA’s and USDA’s pending decision to approve Enlist Duo for use on these crops would increase the use of 2,4-D in the U.S. by three-to-seven-fold by 2020.
In the letter they signed, the members of Congress warn that exposure to the harmful herbicide 2,4-D has been linked to “cancer (especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), decreased sperm count, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease. Further, exposure has also been shown to negatively impact the hormonal, reproductive, neurological and immune systems.”
“Members of Congress are standing up for the health of their constituents – especially children – by urging EPA and USDA not to allow Enlist Duo to blanket farm fields across the country,” said Mary Ellen Kustin, EWG senior policy analyst. “They join more than half a million people who oppose this toxic herbicide mix.”
The Congress members’ letter also points out that EPA’s risk assessment of Enlist Duo failed to apply a required safety factor when evaluating a substance that is known to be harmful to children, as mandated under the federal Food Quality Protection Act. In June, EWG submitted comments to the EPA pointing out this major omission and other significant flaws in the EPA’s risk assessment.
The letter comes one week after prominent doctors and scientists urged lawmakers at a Congressional briefing to pressure the Obama administration to deny Dow’s application because of the known health risks. Thirty-five doctors and scientists also sent a letter to the EPA pointing out the flaws in the risk assessment and urging the agency to not grant approval.