NRDC files opening brief in lawsuit to block pesticide containing probable human carcinogen and chemicals linked to monarch butterfly decline

NRDC filed opening arguments today in our lawsuit to block the approval of Enlist Duo, a next generation herbicide that will further endanger monarch butterflies and that may also threaten human health. Enlist Duo is designed to be used in combination with crops that are genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide. Like its predecessor, Roundup, Enlist Duo contains glyphosate, a chemical that has decimated milkweed - a native wildflower that monarch butterflies depend on - from much of the agricultural Midwest. However, because other weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate, Enlist Duo combines glyphosate with an additional chemical called 2,4-D to increase its effectiveness. This powerful combination poses significant risks to the environment and potentially to public health.

As we have highlighted before, the escalated use of glyphosate in combination with genetically engineered crops has been linked to the elimination of milkweed - the only food source for monarch caterpillars. With the loss of this milkweed there has been a massive decline in monarch butterflies in North America. The other active ingredient in Enlist Duo, 2,4-D, has been linked to health impacts in humans, including decreased fertility, birth defects, and thyroid problems. Furthermore, earlier this year the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization designated glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. However, despite knowing the environmental and health risks associated with these chemicals, the Environmental Protection Agency approved Enlist Duo anyway.

In our opening brief, we argue that the EPA's approval of Enlist Duo was unlawful. Beyond the legal implications, however, Enlist Duo simply puts us on the wrong path when it comes to responsible and sustainable farming practices. In fact it just adds another cog in a never ending (and increasingly toxic!) pesticide treadmill. Rejecting Enlist Duo presents an opportunity to break that cycle and implement long term solutions that will benefit monarch butterflies, people, and farms.

You can sign a petition asking the CEO of DOW to pull Enlist Duo by clicking here.

About the Authors

Sylvia Fallon

Senior Director, Wildlife Division, Nature Program

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