Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 7, 2017

Contact: Nathan Donley, (971) 717-6406, ndonley@biologicaldiversity.org

Missouri Joins Arkansas in Emergency Ban of Monsanto's Drift-prone Pesticide

Dicamba Has Prompted More Than 130 New Complaints in Missouri

ST. LOUIS— In response to more than 130 complaints of crop damage from the highly toxic and drift-prone pesticide dicamba, Missouri officials today announced an immediate ban on the sale and use of the controversial pesticide that has damaged thousands of acres of crops across the Midwest and South.. 

The dicamba ban, which Missouri officials said was temporary pending the determination of a more permanent solution, was announced on the same day Arkansas approved an emergency ban on the pesticide, effective July 11.

“When you have two states enacting emergency bans of dicamba on the same day, it leaves no doubt this drift-prone pesticide has no business being sprayed anywhere,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This is just the latest evidence of the escalating dangers of our unreasonable addiction to pesticides.”  

The Missouri soybean association has estimated that around 200,000 acres of soybean are suspected to have been damaged by dicamba in 2017.

Complaints about the pesticide in Missouri have already exceeded the 120 received by the state last year, when Missouri led the nation in dicamba-related complaints.

Earlier today, Arkansas’ emergency ban of dicamba came in response to nearly 600 complaints from farmers claiming their crops have been damaged by dicamba drift. 

Problems with the dangerous pesticide began last year, after Monsanto released soybean and cotton seeds that had been genetically engineered to resist dicamba, triggering a jump in use of the pesticide and hundreds of complaints from farmers claiming crop damage from pesticide drift.  

“This is a perfect example of the danger of crops genetically engineered for herbicide tolerance — they trigger massive increases in use of these dangerous pesticides,” Donley said. “Not only is this chemical polluting hundreds of thousands of acres of our environment, it’s actually reducing crop yields by drifting and damaging neighboring fields. It’s a lose-lose situation.”

Dicamba, which is well known for its tendency to evaporate and drift to nontarget fields,  is highly toxic to virtually all fruits and vegetables, as well as many other crops that have not been genetically altered to resist it. The pesticide is also linked to increased rates of cancer in farmers and poses increased risks to some of the nation’s most endangered species.

According to Monsanto’s estimates, the adoption of dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton crops will cause annual dicamba use on soybeans and cotton to jump from under 1 million pounds to more than 25 million over the next three years.

The 596 complaints of dicamba misuse in 23 Arkansas counties received by regulators so far this year are more than 16 times as many as in all of last year. Earlier this month dicamba drift ruined more than 100 acres at an Arkansas agricultural research station plot, where conditions are tightly controlled.

Mississippi and Tennessee regulators are also reporting complaints about damaging drift from applications of the toxic pesticide.

Use of the pesticide has already spurred three lawsuits and a dispute over crop damage that led to the murder of an Arkansas farmer.

“Today Arkansas and Missouri gave relief to many farmers and homeowners who are sick of having Monsanto’s chemicals drifting on to their land,” said Donley. “We hope additional states will take action to ensure that dicamba drift doesn’t continue to wreak havoc on fields and the environment across the United States.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

www.biologicaldiversity.org

More press releases