'The Dr. Oz Show' reached out to ask the EPA a couple questions about pesticide use, here are their answers.
1) The Enlist pesticide duo contains two chemicals, glyphosate and 2,4-D, which have been shown to increase the risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, suppressed immune function, thyroid and reproductive problems. How is the EPA keeping the American public safe from these chemicals if it approves Enlist Duo for use on crops meant for human consumption, with two chemicals shown to increase all of these adverse health effects?
Response: The EPA has evaluated all available data for 2,4-D and glyphosate -- including animal toxicity, clinical, epidemiologic, and exposure studies -- in considering the potential for the pesticides to cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, suppressed immune function, thyroid and/or reproductive effects, and numerous other toxic effects. Based on the best science and state of the art data, the Agency has determined that, when used according to labeled directions, there will be no harm to the American public as a result of the use of Enlist. EPA makes its decisions based on sound science. If additional information becomes available that would change our conclusions, EPA would move quickly to take appropriate regulatory action.
2) How can you ensure the safety of children and adults living within close proximity to corn and soy bean fields where these products will be grown and the pesticide combo is to be sprayed?
Response: 2,4-D has been registered for many years in the United States and is registered in dozens of countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, 26 European Union Members, and many member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 2,4-D is registered for use by residents and commercial applicators on lawns, so we are very comfortable that it is safe for that use. That being said we want to minimize drift of this and all pesticides off the intended target to minimize involuntary exposures even those that are safe.
The EPA’s human health risk assessment for this proposed registration decision included extensive analysis of the potential for risks to people living near treated agricultural fields, including children and adults, from sources such as volatilization and spray drift. Our human health risk assessment showed very low risks to human health but we added protection measures to ensure there is reduced off-field movement of the pesticide. The EPA's proposed registration decision pertains only to the low volatility pesticide formulation. Additionally, the pesticide may not be applied from aircraft, and may be applied only under favorable wind conditions. Also, a 30 foot, within field, buffer zone was set to protect endangered plants but should also serve to further protect bystanders and other non-target plants. EPA has determined that the pesticide’s use will cause no health risks to people living near treated crops, even at the edge of treated fields.
3) According to the Environmental Working Group there are over 5,600 schools within a 200 foot distance to corn fields where these products are likely to be grown and used. Given that the products own safety protocol calls for a 200 foot buffer zone for safe use, aren’t these products a danger to those children and teachers for exposure?
Response: The Enlist pesticide duo label does not call for a 200 foot buffer zone. The proposed decision for the pesticide requires a 30 foot, within field, application buffer zone to protect endangered plants. As mentioned above, EPA has evaluated the potential for residential bystander exposures from use of Enlist Duo and determined that there are no risks to human health. The EPA determined that use of the choline salt of 2,4-D in the Enlist Duo product would reduce volatility and off-site movement of the herbicide compared to other forms of 2,4-D.
4) Of the comments you received during the comment period, how many were for approval of Enlist Duo and how many were against?
The EPA is in the process of reviewing the over 300,000 comments received, which included many comments both for and against the registration of Enlist Duo. We cannot provide an exact tally of how many comments supported or opposed the proposed action. Public comments on the EPA’s proposed regulatory decision were submitted to EPA docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0195 at www.regulations.gov.
For more information on EPA’s proposed decision on Enlist Duo visit: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/2-4-d-glyphosate.html