Comments end for Enlist Duo but not the fight

Published online: Jul 15, 2014
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Dow AgroSciences is anticipating a positive next step in the registration process for Enlist Duo herbicide.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency closed the comment period on its proposed registration decision for Enlist Duo, which is the herbicide for use with the Enlist Weed Control System that hasn’t been given Department of Agriculture approval yet.

The likelihood is that registration of the herbicide to use with the Enlist biotechnology crop trait approval of one or more crops will be somewhat simultaneous from past history of such new product introductions.

Dow AgroSciences appears confident of registration because of the hardship to farmers from “persistent pressure from glyphosate-resistant and hard-to-control weeds.” These weeds have spread across the U.S. and are having a negative effect on crop yields. Resistant and hard-to-control weeds have more than doubled from 2009, and affect an estimated 70 million acres.

Dow AgroSciences claims Enlist Duo during the comment period drew broad support from farmers, university scientists, agriculture associations, members of the public and others. And they are positive that a huge percentage of those commenting urged the EPA to move quickly to register Enlist Duo, which will be a key tool for weed resistance management.

In its “Proposed Registration of Enlist Duo Herbicide” released on April 30, EPA stated it has a “full and scientifically robust data set on 2,4-D” with respect to human health, noted Dow AgroSciences.

There has been no official announcement of the negative comments or on what grounds those commenting against the herbicide were basing their requested rejection of Enlist Duo registration. Off-target movement or application drift of Enlist Duo because it contains a formulation of 2,4-D, has been a hot button by some critics.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) started screaming about 2,4-D being a poisonous chemical this week and is still fighting against the EPA registering Enlist Duo.

Here is the comment sent to consumer and agricultural media alike:  “There are 5,609 American schools within 200 feet of farm fields that may soon be blanketed with massive amounts of a toxic defoliant linked to Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive and immune system problems.

“That’s the finding of a new EWG analysis that shows that hundreds of thousands of children across the country will be at risk of increased exposure to the harmful chemical compound—2,4-D—if the Environmental Protection Agency approves a new weed killer mixture called ‘Enlist Duo’ created by Dow AgroSciences.”

But Dow AgroSciences points out that regulatory agencies in more than 70 countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Australia and the U.S., have authorized the use of 2,4-D since 2001 based on modern regulatory requirements.

Dow AgroSciences also contends that the EPA has acknowledged the significant scientific advancements Dow AgroSciences made with Enlist Duo herbicide as it relates to off-target movement. By combining two modes of action, Enlist Duo will help solve the weed control challenges growers are facing, and “it will do so with technology optimized for on-target application,” spokespersons have stressed.

The EPA is expected to review the comments it has received in the coming weeks, and will then issue its final decision. Pending regulatory approvals, Dow AgroSciences expects to launch Enlist corn and soybeans that are resistant to Enlist Duo in 2015 and wants the herbicide registered by that time, too.