The East London Garden Society

Dicamba Herbicide Wreaks Havoc

Soya Bean Crops

Above: Soya Bean-crops damaged by using Dicambra

The rapid emergence of glyphosate‐resistant super‐weeds has led to the development and use of even more toxic herbicides, including dicamba, which has been clearly linked to non‐Hodgkins lymphoma.

While the chemical technology industry, led by Monsanto, claimed genetically engineered glyphosate‐resistant crops would reduce the need for herbicides, usage has steadily and significantly risen since the advent of GE seeds. What’s worse, the rapid emergence of chemical‐resistant super‐weeds has led to the development and use of even more toxic herbicides.

This includes 2,4‐D and dicamba, both of which have been clearly linked to non‐Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of blood cancer originating in the lymphatic system. Dicamba has also been implicated in canine malignant lymphoma, raising the risk by as much as 70 percent in some dogs following exposure.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also approved more than one hundred different pesticide formulations to address growing weed resistance, the synergistic effect of which makes them more poisonous. Synergy happens when two or more compounds combine to create an effect that is larger than the sum of their parts.

It’s alarming to see just how common it’s been for the EPA to ignore how these chemical mixtures might endanger the health of our environment. It’s pretty clear that chemical companies knew about these potential dangers, but the EPA never bothered to demand this information from them or dig a little deeper to find it for themselves.

Monsanto released Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans ‐ a stacked trait seed engineered to tolerate both Roundup and dicamba. The problem was, the company had not yet received EPA approval for the herbicide designed to go with these new seeds. As a result, farmers who bought the seed took to illegally spraying old dicamba‐based herbicides on their crops. The result was devastating for neighbouring farms, where crops and plants withered and died.

Monsanto was sharply criticised for releasing dicamba‐resistant seeds before receiving approval for the less drift‐prone herbicide, but the company simply blamed the off‐target damage on the farmers, taking no responsibility for the catch‐22 they’d created.

Now that XtendiMax with Vapour Grip herbicide is available, real‐world effects suggest the chemical technology supposed to make this herbicide safe to use falls far short of expectations. In fact, it is turning out to be just as bad for neighbours of those using XtendiMax with Vapour Grip as previously, when illegal dicamba formulations were used.

As the growing season entered its peak in the summer of 2017, farmers began posting startling pictures on social media showing fields of beans, peach orchards and vegetable gardens withering away. The photographs served as early warnings of a crisis that has damaged millions of acres of farmland.

According to farmers, new versions of the herbicide dicamba developed by Monsanto and BASF, have drifted across fields to crops unable to withstand it. As the crisis intensifies, new details provided to Reuters by independent researchers and regulators, and previously unreported testimony by a company employee, demonstrate the unusual way Monsanto introduced its product. The approach, in which Monsanto prevented key independent testing of its product, went unchallenged by the EPA and nearly every state regulator.

Normally, when a new pesticide is developed, the company will commission tests that are then shared with regulators. Samples of the chemical are also shared with universities for analysis and testing. Together, regulators and researchers then assess the product’s safety and effectiveness.

According to Reuters:
“Monsanto’s Vice President of Global Strategy, Scott Partridge, said the company prevented the testing because it was unnecessary. He said the company believed the product was less volatile than a previous dicamba formula that researchers found could be used safely. To get meaningful data takes a long, long time. This product needed to get into the hands of growers.”

Monsanto employee Boyd Carey explained the company’s rationale for refusing volatility, paints a very different picture. Boyd Carey is on record as stating, the University of Arkansas nor any other university was given the opportunity to test Vapour Grip in fear that the results may jeopardize the federal label.

These revelations present a clear picture of Monsanto as a company that peddles some of the most toxic products on the market and hides the truth from the world until it’s forced to do so through the legal discovery process, and are a company that hires academics, scientists and journalists, and hides their connections and financial ties.