Dow Told to Shelve Herbicide Threatening to Push Monarchs Over the Brink In New York Times Ad

NRDC Says Enlist Duo is a toxic chemical cocktail that kills plants monarchs need to survive

(New York, July 7, 2015) – The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) placed an ad in The New York Times today to increase the pressure on Dow Chemical to “end this chemical arms race” against nature by shelving its toxic herbicide, Enlist Duo,  which imperils the iconic monarch butterfly. The full-page ad contains a link to an online petition for readers to tell Andrew Liveris, the President, Chairman, and CEO of Dow Chemical, to cancel plans for this new toxic herbicide before it wreaks more destruction on monarchs by destroying milkweed, a native plant monarchs need to survive. More than 145,000 NRDC members and online activists have already signed the petition at         

“Dow’s next-generation herbicide takes us in the wrong direction by setting off a snowballing effect of using more and more powerful pesticides that threaten human health and imperil the iconic monarch butterfly,” said Sylvia Fallon, a senior scientist at NRDC.

Dow’s Enlist Duo is a next-generation herbicide that combines milkweed-destroying glyphosate (initially marketed as Roundup), with the chemical 2,4-D. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts Enlist Duo could result in as much as a six-fold increase in the use of 2,4-D, which has been linked to health impacts in humans, including decreased fertility, birth defects and thyroid problems. Additionally, the World Health Organization recently classified glyphosate as a “probable” carcinogen and 2, 4 D a “possible” carcinogen.

Monarch butterfly populations have been devastated by skyrocketing use of glyphosate, the most widely-used weed killer in the country.  In less than 20 years, the migrating population has dropped by more than 90 percent because glyphosate has wiped out much of the native milkweed monarchs need to survive. In 1997, an astounding one billion monarchs migrated through Canada, the Midwest and eastern U.S. to their winter refuge in Mexico. This past winter, just 56.6 million made the journey. Deforestation and climate change have contributed to the crisis, experts say, but the massive loss of milkweed habitat is the main culprit.

In 2014, NRDC filed a lawsuit to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of Enlist Duo; that case is ongoing.  Just last month, the EPA denied NRDC’s petition seeking to compel the agency to undertake an immediate review of glyphosate and its impact on monarchs, and for measures to limit the harm the chemical is causing to the species. In addition to seeking restrictions on the use of herbicides that destroy milkweed, NRDC is working to develop “butterfly highways” by promoting the planting of milkweed along the monarchs’ migration routes.


To see The New York Times ad, see:

For background on monarchs and herbicides, see Sylvia Fallon’s blog:

For background on 2, 4-D, see Kristi Pullen’s blog:


Related Press Releases