2,4-D and Dicamba Reports to Be Released

Kelly MarshallASA, Herbicides, NCGA

2,4-DThe World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) will soon be releasing another report.  An earlier report, released in March, categorized the herbicide glyhosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a category shared by aloe vera and coffee.  The upcoming report will be the results of their review of 2,4-D and dicamba.  Farm organizations are concerned.

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling and American Soybean Association Chairman Ray Gaesser have issued a joint statement about the possible classification of a tested pesticide as a probable carcinogen.  The response of confused consumers is the main concern of the organizations.

“We are concerned, […] that a pending announcement from the U.N. World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer will only lead to more confusion and concern about two widely-used herbicides that have been mainstays for farmers for decades. These two substances play an especially important role in corn and soybean farming as they allow us to manage weeds in a sustainable way.

“The IARC exists to review health and safety data to decide whether something could (not will or is even likely to) be carcinogenic. IARC creates confusion and unnecessary fear amongst the public by using narrowly-focused data removed from real-world situations to find almost everything that it reviews as potentially carcinogenic, including drinking coffee, using aloe vera, or working the late shift.
“IARC does not take the regulations and use patterns around herbicides that allow them to be implemented safely into consideration.

“While IARC may be fulfilling its narrow charge, its findings are easily misrepresented and misunderstood.

Farm groups are urging IARC to interpret its findings with care.  The confusion activists groups may cause with misleading information will be difficult for farm families working to pass on farms to the next generation.