A toxic herbicide, 2,4-D, is a World War II-era weed killer ingredient that is one of the oldest pesticides still legally on the market: it's one of the top three pesticides sold nationwide and the most common pesticide-based weed control product in the home and garden market.
Products containing it include Aqua-Kleen, Plantgard, Lawn-Keep and Planotox. It is a known neurotoxin, is toxic to the eye, thyroid, kidney, adrenals, and ovaries/testes according to the EPA and is linked to cancer and other diseases, and was an ingredient in Agent Orange.
It's considered safe by the USDA, an agency that biotechnology companies are aggressively pushing for approval of new genetically engineered crops, and which Dow AgroSciences is pushing to deregulate its genetically engineered crops that are resistant to 2,4-D.
NRDC filed a lawsuit today against the EPA for failing to respond to a 2008 petition to ban 2,4-D. NRDC explains more about its use:
Forty-six million pounds of 2,4-D are still used every year in the United States alone, applied, often via weed-and-feed products, to areas such as front lawns, playgrounds, and golf courses. Agricultural uses of 2,4-D include application to pasture land, timber, wheat, corn, soybeans, barley, rice, oats, and sugar cane.
Lurking All Over the Place
“This dangerous pesticide is lurking all over the place – from ball fields and golf courses, to front lawns and farms – exposing an enormous amount of the American public to cancer and other serious health risks,” said NRDC senior scientist Dr. Gina Solomon.
The pesticide has been detected in drinking water and as a contaminant in surface water and groundwater. The pesticide also lingers in soil for over a month after it is applied to lawns, meaning 2,4-D can easily finds its way into homes tracked in by shoes and pet paws. 2,4-D is classified by EPA as a hazardous air pollutant and by the State of California as a toxic air contaminant.
2,4-D can be absorbed through the skin, making anyone who applies it or is in contact with lawns or surface water near application at risk of exposure. As a result, young children who crawl on carpets or play on the floor are most vulnerable to indoor exposure by hand-to-mouth ingestion, skin absorption, and inhalation of dust...
Toxic 2,4-D is expected to be used in even greater quantities as weeds have become increasingly resistant to Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup. If Dow Agrosciences’ genetically modified 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybean crops gain USDA approval, use of 2,4-D could increase by 50-fold or more.
NRDC attorney Nick Morales said, “EPA already understands the health threats. Now the agency needs to act on them.”