Monsanto’s promises of a safe, “drift-free” dicamba have failed to materialize, as complaints have flooded into state agricultural departments across the country. So far this year, regulators have received nearly four years’ worth of complaints regarding dicamba-related crop damage.
So far, this year has not been very kind to Monsanto. First, collusion between Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was revealed, whereby the company worked in tandem with the federal agency to discredit independent research conducted by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The IARC, in 2015, found that glyphosate – the key ingredient in Monsanto’s best-known product, Roundup — most likely causes cancer, a reality that Monsanto had secretly known for decades. Furthermore, Monsanto’s own head toxicologist, Donna Farmer, admitted that she “cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer” as “we [Monsanto] have not done the carcinogenicity studies with Roundup.”
With their lobbyists now banned from the EU parliament amid the body’s deliberations over whether to ban glyphosate entirely, Monsanto seems to be betting on the chemical it hopes will solve its glyphosate troubles — a herbicide known as dicamba. While dicamba has existed for decades, Monsanto has been busy retooling the herbicide, hoping to use it to replace glyphosate – not in response to concerns about glyphosate’s dangerous effects on human health but in order to tackle the development of widespread resistance to glyphosate among weeds in the United States and elsewhere.
Monsanto has aggressively marketed its genetically modified, dicamba-tolerant seeds along with its associated herbicide, hoping to capture half of the entire U.S. soybean market by 2019. Monsanto even began pushing dicamba-tolerant seeds on farmers before its new dicamba herbicide was approved by the U.S. government, forcing farmers who bought the seeds to use older and illegal dicamba-based herbicides. Growing dicamba-tolerant seeds would preclude farmers from using any other but the dicamba-based herbicide during growing season, and create the risk of having their crops overrun by weeds, including so-called “superweeds.”
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