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Beyond Pesticides

July 1, 2014

Tell EPA: Don't Bail Out Genetically Engineered Cotton with a Toxic Pesticide

Comment on this emergency toxic chemical use by July 3.

It was predictable that genetically engineered (GE) cotton sprayed with the weedkiller glyphosate (Roundup) would create resistant superweeds. Now that it has, Texas GE cotton growers recently requested an emergency use of the exceedingly harmful pesticide propazine a chemical cousin to atrazine, the herbicide that is demasculinizing frogs by disrupting the endocrine systemon 3 million acres of cotton fields where the weeds have become resistant to the chemical of choice –glyphosate.

Stop the GE Pesticide Treadmill!
Use Beyond Pesticides' sample comments for guidance.

Help stop the GE treadmill and the use of hazardous pesticides. Join Beyond Pesticides in fighting this predictable “emergency” use because it exemplifies EPA's practice of allowing increasing dependency on highly toxic pesticides in agricultural systems that are predictably unsustainable, harmful to people and the environment, and for which there are safe alternatives.

This situation is the same toxic treadmill and thinking that is ushering in new 2,4-D-tolerant corn to replace Roundup Ready corn. Emergency exemptions and the use of increasingly toxic herbicides must not be the norm for communities and our environment.

Can you help us stop EPA from propping up the failed GE agricultural system?

Government does not make commenting easy. So, copy the comment below and then click here to paste it in the comment field or, better, write a comment in your own words. [See Beyond Pesticides' draft comments.]


I urge EPA to deny the petition from the Texas Department of Agriculture seeking an emergency exemption for the use of the herbicide propazine to control 3 million acres of glyposate-resistant Palmer amaranth. The risks posed by this chemical far outweigh any short-term benefits. Propazine is a toxic herbicide that has been linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity. As part of the triazine family, it has a toxicological profile similar to atrazine, a well-documented hormone disruptor which has also been linked to birth defects, increased risk of breast cancer, and demasculinization of amphibians and other wildlife. Like atrazine, propazine has a strong potential to contaminate groundwater. Its use on 3 million acres of Texas land will undoubtedly increase the levels of this chemical in waterways, a use pattern unaccounted for in previous assessments of propazine. Emergency exemptions under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) cannot be granted without accurate health, ecological, and environmental risk assessments that also take into account the cumulative uses of atrazine and simazine in the state.

According to EPA, under Section 18 of FIFRA an emergency exemption is defined as "an urgent, non-routine situation..." As the agency is aware, glyphosate-resistant weeds, in particular Palmer amaranth, have been documented for several years with increasing frequency and thus must not be considered a "non-routine" or emergency situation. Since 1996, several emergency exemptions for propazine have been requested on sorghum, with roughly half being denied, because EPA must deny a request for emergency exemption if the pesticide does not meet safety standards, or if the emergency criteria are not met. Like these previous denials, EPA must again issue a denial of this latest request.


Superweed Emergency? Tell EPA you saw this coming!

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