In October the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the registration of Enlist Duo, a new herbicide to fight superweeds resistant to other weedkillers. The chemical combines glyphosate, originally developed and marketed by Monsanto as Roundup, with the older, more toxic 2,4-D, one of the ingredients in Agent Orange. The approval applies to six states, and the EPA is accepting public comment until Dec. 15 to register the pesticide in 10 additional states. The registration, which came a month after the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved new corn and soybean seeds genetically engineered to resist both herbicides, is subject to a six-year limit and some monitoring requirements.
The EPA’s approval of a new cocktail of old herbicides signals further escalation in the war on weeds, increased industrialization of agriculture and yet another victory for the agrochemical giants. If Americans want a food system that is less chemical-dependent and healthier for people and the rest of the environment, they need to understand the game chemical companies play with superweeds and their superproducts.