Pesticide known to drift, damage neighboring crops gets OK from EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the green light to farmers this week to continue using the controversial pesticide dicamba—despite the chemical having a tendency to drift and damage nearby crops and vegetation. Only soybean and cotton plants that have been genetically modified to tolerate the Monsanto-made weed killer can withstand its application, leaving all other vegetation at risk. Although the EPA did impose somewhat stricter rules on how long farmers could spray dicamba, independent scientists who specialize in weeds argue these were not likely to mitigate the problem. Some farmers say they’ll probably now be forced to plant dicamba-resistant plants—which, surprise, Monsanto also sells—just to avoid the consequences of the pesticide spreading to their property. Turns out, strong-arming consumers into buying your products is a particularly profitable business model: This past year, nearly half of all soybeans and cotton crops planted in the United States were Monsanto's dicamba-resistant variety.

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