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EPA: 2,4-D Not a Human Carcinogen

The Environmental Protection Agency announces it will not conduct a special review of one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. to determine if it is a human carcinogen.

Published on: Aug 10, 2007

Following its recent decision to reregister 2,4 dichloro-phenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday announced its Decision Not to Initiate a Special Review of 2,4-D, one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. and around the world.

EPA's decision states: "Because the Agency has determined that the existing data do not support a conclusion that links human cancer to 2,4-D exposure, it has decided not to initiate a Special Review of 2,4-D, 2,4-DB and 2,4-DP."

EPA first considered Special Review for 2,4-D in 1986, and after more than 21 years of research and reregistration evaluation, the Agency decided that no correlation exists between the proper use of 2,4-D and cancer.

"Based on extensive scientific review of many epidemiology and animal studies, the Agency finds that the weight of the evidence does not support a conclusion that 2,4-D, 2,4-DB and 2,4-DP are likely human carcinogens," according to a notice released by EPA. The herbicides 2,4-DB and 2,4-DP were also being considered for Special Review based on their similarity to 2,4-D.

"The impact of this decision should not be understated," said Jack Dutra, executive director of the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data. "Today EPA definitively stated that 2,4-D is not a human carcinogen when used according to label directions."

2,4-D is commonly applied to a variety of crops such as wheat, corn, rice, soybeans, potatoes, sugar cane, pome fruits, stone fruits and nuts. It controls invasive species in aquatic and federally protected areas, and broadleaf weeds in turf grass. An economic evaluation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded that the loss of 2,4-D would cost the U.S. economy $1.7 billion annually in higher food production and weed control expenses.

Since 1989, the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data developed and submitted to EPA over 300 Good Laboratory Practice toxicology, environmental and residue studies which EPA scientists reviewed to assess the herbicide's safety under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Food Quality Protection Act.