by Christina Sarich, undergroundreporter:
The United States Environmental Protection Agency just ignored a legal requirement to examine any threat to endangered species by approving another toxic herbicide this last week. Dicamba will now follow the trajectory of toxic chemical herbicides and pesticides which came before, such as glyphosate, and atrazine, forcing our most fragile creatures to the precipice of their demise.
Dicamba is not a new herbicide — it has been around for years. Brand names for formulations of this herbicide include Banvel, Diablo, Oracle, and Vanquish. A selective herbicide in the chlorophenoxy family of chemicals, dicamba can be found in nearly 1,100 items sold in the U.S. as agricultural and gardening products; however, the EPA’s latest decision allows the herbicide to be sprayed directly on genetically modified corn and soy, meaning it will likely be used across 1 million to 25 million pounds of just these two agricultural crops annually.
Many suggest that if dicamba herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans were not approved, farmers would be relegated to using older, more dangerous versions; but there is no sound basis in this argument considering all of these chemicals should be removed from our environment, regardless of their specific means of damaging human health and the ecosystem.
Moreover, dicamba is part of Monsanto’s two-point plan: replace glyphosate (the main ingredient in the company’s best-selling RoundUp weed killer), as it increasingly comes under fire, and create public acceptance of the GM crops engineered to withstand dicamba.
Monsanto’s own conservative estimates predict that dicamba use on soybeans will likely rise from around 233,000 pounds per year to 20.5 million pounds per year — and dicamba use on cotton could go from 364,000 pounds per year to 5.2 million pounds per year.
There are numerous scientific studies which suggest that the coming onslaught of dicamba could be significantly troubling for creatures both large and small. The lady beetle, Coleomegilla maculate, is an important beneficial insect in cropland that is commonly used as an indicator species in safety evaluations of herbicides; and lady beetles were recently decimated in crops that were sprayed with dicamba.