The herbicide dicamba is too risky to use on row crops such as soybeans and cotton until independent research shows it won't evaporate and harm nearby crops and plants, said a report from three conservation and environmental groups on Wednesday. Dicamba is blamed for "off-target" damage on millions of acres of property, and the EPA is considering possible rules for its use on crops in the future.
The fast-growing weed Palmer amaranth has developed a tolerance for dicamba herbicide in least five counties in western Tennessee and likely several others, said University of Tennessee weed specialist Larry Steckel on Monday. The report was a setback for dicamba, which was introduced a few years ago as a new tool for control of invasive weeds that showed resistance to glyphosate and other weedkillers.
Two weeks after agreeing to pay up to $9.6 billion to resolve thousands of cancer lawsuits against glyphosate, seed and ag-chemical giant Bayer is still looking for a way to handle future litigation against the weedkiller. A proposal to appoint a panel of experts to decide if glyphosate is carcinogenic — a pivotal question for cases filed in coming years — died on Wednesday following criticism from the federal judge handling the lawsuits.
Under the terms of an agreement announced Wednesday, seed and agribusiness giant Bayer will pay up to $10.9 billion to resolve lawsuits that accuse its Roundup herbicide of causing cancer, and an additional $400 million to settle litigation claiming crop damage caused by its dicamba weedkiller from 2015 to 2020.
Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, poses no threat to human health when used as directed and is unlikely to cause cancer, said the EPA in an interim decision on Thursday. Environmental groups denounced the decision as faulty.
Chiding California regulators for "misleading labeling requirements," the EPA told herbicide makers to remove cancer warnings from containers of glyphosate, the most widely used weedkiller in the world, in a step that would benefit seed and ag chemical giant Bayer. Meanwhile, a court-appointed mediator dismissed as "pure fiction" a report that the German company offered $8 billion to settle all U.S. lawsuits against Roundup, Bayer's glyphosate-based herbicide.
The USDA has never approved cultivation of genetically engineered wheat, yet for the fourth time since April 2013 a wheat strain resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate was found growing wild in the northwestern United States. The discovery could disrupt wheat exports and it raises questions about USDA's ability to police agricultural biotechnology.
Farmers have been using the weed killer glyphosate – a key ingredient of the product Roundup – at soaring levels even as glyphosate has become increasingly less effective and as health concerns and lawsuits mount. Nationwide, the use of glyphosate on crops increased from 13.9 million pounds in 1992 to 287 million pounds in 2016, according to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey. (No paywall)
In a bellwether trial, a federal jury found Monsanto liable for causing blood cancer in a man who used its Roundup weedkiller, and awarded the man, Edwin Hardeman, more than $80 million in damages, said The Recorder.