Feature: Mary Eubanks – Duke University | Environmental Activists | Stop Registration of ENLIST DUO Herbicide | 2,4-D & Glyphosate Mix

Mary Eubanks’ decision to breed non-GMO and organic corn hybrids was not based on ideology. It was her health. A few years ago, she worked with genetically modified Bt corn, but found she was allergic to it. “Exposure to GM corn pollen makes my eyes itchy, watery and swollen, and I break out in a rash,” she says. “If I am allergic to it, it could be bad for other people as well.” –

Rich, new genetic diversity for corn

Eubanks is adjunct professor of biology at Duke University and founder of Sun Dance Genetics LLC, a company that is developing drought- and disease-resistant corn varieties for non-GMO and organic production  http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/apr08/breeding_to_save_nongmo_organic_corn_seed.php#sthash.ZpQhVX6w.dpuf


Leading Scientists Tell EPA to Ban Agent Orange GMO Crops

Global Research, July 02, 2014

Administrator Gina McCarthy

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC 20460

RE: Dow AgroSciences application to amend their 2,4-D choline salt herbicide for use on 2,4-D tolerant corn and

soybeans. Docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0195

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

We the undersigned scientists, medical professionals, and researchers are writing to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to register a double herbicide mix of 2,4-D and glyphosate (the “Enlist DuoTM” weed killer) for farm field spraying in combination with a new breed of genetically engineered corn and soybeans.

This 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and glyphosate herbicide system developed by Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, would put public health at risk if sprayed on millions of acres of cropland.

Dow Chemical Company promotes 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybeans to be used in conjunction with Enlist DuoTM because the widespread planting of the glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready corn and soybeans has resulted in accelerated herbicide resistance in numerous weed species.1 Now, instead of re-evaluating the genetically engineered crop strategy in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and EPA are close to approving the 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybeans despite the risks that the increased use of 2,4-D would pose to human health and the environment.

2,4-D is a notorious herbicide that has been linked with adverse health effects to the thyroid2 and an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma3 in human epidemiological studies. Although studies of pesticide exposure among farmers and their families are confounded by exposure to multiple pesticides, there is a large and compelling body of data that demonstrates the link between occupational exposure to herbicides and insecticides and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.4 Studies of farmers who worked with 2,4-D found a link between exposure to this herbicide and suppressed immune function,5 lower sperm count,6 and a greater risk of Parkinson’s disease.7

These findings from human studies, whether small-scale, pilot studies or large cohort studies, point out significant risks from 2,4-D to human health even for the relatively healthy adults who work in agricultural jobs. Such risks would be much higher for young children, especially young children in residential communities, schools, and daycare centers near the 2,4-D-sprayed fields.

Also worrisome is the fact that the manufacturer did not conduct any toxicity tests for simultaneous exposure to the combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate, which could pose a much higher human and environmental toxicity risk than either herbicide alone. EPA acknowledges that, “there could be additional toxicological effects (synergistic or additive) because of the presence of two herbicides.”8 Yet, the Agency disregarded these data gaps and both human and environmental toxicity concerns in its proposal to register the Enlist Duo™ herbicide.

If the EPA were to approve Dow’s application for 2,4-D-glyphosate herbicide to be used on 2,4-D-resistant crops, USDA estimates at least a tripling of use of 2,4-D by 2020 compared to the present amounts used annually for agriculture in the United States.9 The increase in 2,4-D spraying on corn and soybean fields would lead to pollution of food and water and increased drift of 2,4-D from the fields into nearby residential areas. The Dow Chemical Company claims that their 2,4-D choline salt formulation has low volatility and low drift. However, the large-scale, blanket spraying that has become standard practice with genetically engineered crops would make herbicide drift from sprayed fields into nearby residential areas and ecosystem habitats highly likely to occur.

In addition to putting human health at risk, increased 2,4-D spraying would harm the already-vulnerable ecosystems in intensely farmed regions of the United States; affect dozens of endangered species; and potentially contribute to the decline of pollinators and honeybees. EPA itself has identified these likely outcomes of 2,4-D spraying in the agency’s ecological risk assessment for 2,4-D. Such direct and indirect effects of 2,4-D would have significant negative economic consequences.

Finally, increased 2,4-D application is likely to accelerate and exacerbate the evolution of yet more 2,4-D resistant weeds.10 This pattern is known as the “pesticide treadmill” when farmers end up using larger amounts of increasingly toxic chemicals to control herbicide-resistant weeds eventually requiring the use of different pesticides.

Decades of research have continuously demonstrated the risks of using 2,4-D, a notoriously toxic herbicide. Allowing large-scale 2,4-D spraying in combination with 2,4-D-tolerant genetically engineered crops would worsen the problem. We urge the EPA to do the right thing and deny the approval of the new mixtures of 2,4-D and glyphosate in order to protect human and environmental health.

View list of signatories here


1 Owen MD. Weed species shifts in glyphosate-resistant crops. Pest Manag Sci. 64(4): 377-87. and Owen MD, Young BG, Shaw DR, Wilson RG, Jordan DL, Dixon PM, Weller SC. 2011. Benchmark study on glyphosate-resistant crop systems in the United States. Part 2: Perspectives. Pest Manag Sci. 67(7): 747-57.

2 Goldner WS, Sandler DP, Yu F, Shostrom V, Hoppin JA, Kamel F, LeVan TD. 2013. Hypothyroidism and pesticide use among male private pesticide applicators in the agricultural health study. J Occup Environ Med. 55(10): 1171-8.

3 Miligi L, Costantini AS, Veraldi A, Benvenuti A; WILL, Vineis P. Cancer and pesticides: an overview and some results of the Italian multicenter case-control study on hematolymphopoietic malignancies. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1076:366-77, 2006.

4 Schinasi L, Leon ME. 2014. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and occupational exposure to agricultural pesticide chemical groups and active ingredients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health 11(4): 4449-527.

5 Faustini A, Settimi L, Pacifici R, Fano V, Zuccaro P, Forastiere F. 1996. Immunological changes among farmers exposed to phenoxy herbicides: preliminary observations. Occup Environ Med. 53(9): 583-5.

6 Lerda D, Rizzi R. 1991. Study of reproductive function in persons occupationally exposed to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). Mutat Res. 262(1): 47-50.

7 Tanner C, Ross G, Jewell S, Hauser R, Jankovic J, Factor S, Bressman S, Deligtisch A, Marras C, Lyons K, Bhudhikanok G, Roucoux D, Meng C, Abbot R, Langston W. 2009. Occupation and Risk of Parkinsonism. Arch. Neurol. 66(9): 1106-13.

8 EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2013. EFED (Environmental Fate and Effects Division) Environmental Risk Assessment of Proposed Label for Enlist (2,4-D Choline Salt), New Uses on Soybean with DAS 68416-4 (2,4-D Tolerant) and Enlist (2,4-D + Glyphosate Tolerant) Corn and Field Corn. Docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0195.

9 USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture). 2013. Dow AgroSciences Petitions (09-233-01p, 09-349-01p, and 11-234-01p) for Determinations of Nonregulated Status for 2,4-D-Resistant Corn and Soybean Varieties. Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

10 Mortensen, DA, JF Egan, BD Maxwell, MR Ryan, and RG Smith. 2012. Navigating a Critical Juncture for Sustainable Weed Management. BioScience, 62: 75-84.


Toni Bark, M.D., MHEM, LEED AP
Founder and Medical Director
Center for Disease Prevention and Reversal

Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.
Research Professor
Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural
Washington State University

Alison Bleaney, M.B., Ch.B., FACRRM
Medical Practitioner
National Toxics Network, Tasmanian Environmental
Health Network, Doctors for America

David O. Carpenter, M.D.
Institute for Health and the Environment at Albany
Lynn Carroll, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange
Margaret Christensen, M.D., FACOG
Adjunct Faculty, President
Institute for Functional Medicine, Christensen Center
for Whole Life Health
Theo Colborn, Ph.D.
President Emeritus
TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange
Johanna Congleton, MSPH, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Environmental Working Group
Martin Donohue, M.D., FACP
Adjunct Associate Professor; Member; Senior
School of Community Health, Portland State
University; Social Justice Committee & Board of
Advisors, Physicians for Social Responsibility;
Internal Medicine, Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center
Diane Drum, R.N., AE-C
Multnomah County Environmental Health
Mary Eubanks, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor
Dept. of Biology, Duke University
Elizabeth Frost, M.D.
Medical Practitioner
Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC)
Robert M. Gould, M.D.
San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, Physicians for
Social Responsibility
Michael Hansen, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Consumers Union
Carol Kwiatkowski, Ph.D.
Executive Director
TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange
Philip J. Landrigan, M.D.
Dean for Global Health
Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chairman
Department of Preventive Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Children’s Environmental Health Center
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure
Dept. of Environmental Health, Harvard School of
Public Health
Rob McConnell, M.D.
Professor of Preventative Medicine
University of Southern California
Margaret Mellon Ph.D., J.D.
Science Policy Consultant
Mellon Associates
Gretel Munroe, M.S., MSH, R.D.
Raymond Richard Neutra, M.D., DrPH
Retired Chief of Division of Environmental and
Occupational Disease Control
California Dept. of Public Health
John A. Patterson, M.D., MSPH
Associate Professor
Dept. of Family and Community Medicine, University
of Kentucky College of Medicine
Jerome A. Paulson, M.D., FAAP
Medical Director for National and Global Affairs
Children’s National Health System
Warren Paul Porter, Ph.D.
Professor of Zoology, Professor of Environmental
Toxicology, Invited Affiliate Faculty Member,
Engineering Physics
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Julia Quint, Ph.D.
Research Scientist and Former Chief
Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service,
California Department of Public Health (Retired)
James Roberts, M.D., MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Medical University of South Carolina
Johanna Rochester, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service,
California Department of Public Health (Retired)
Kenneth Rosenman, M.D., FACE, FACPM
Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Michigan State University
Ricardo J. Salvador, Ph.D.
Director and Senior Scientist
Union of Concerned Scientists
Jennifer Sass, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Professional Lecturer
Natural Resources Defense Council, George
Washington University
Shilpa P. Saxena, M.D.
SevaMed Institute, PA
David Shubert, Ph.D.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.
Distinguished Scholar in Residence
Dept. of Environmental Studies and Science
Ithaca College
Robin M. Whyatt, DrPH
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
Colombia Center for Children’s Environmental Health
Marisa C. Weiss, M.D.
President and Founder

The signers of this letter have done so in their personal capacities. Institutional affiliations are
provided only for identification purposes and do not imply any institutional position.


Published on Dec 19, 2013

Technology has raised productivity to unprecedented levels. But it will take new ideas to fulfill the future needs of farming. The Enlist™ Weed Control System represents Dow AgroSciences' commitment to build on today's herbicide-tolerant technology by introducing innovations that work for tomorrow.