Don’t let dicamba become the next glyphosate.
The damage continues to mount, the damning cancer studies have just begun. More dicamba devastation is on the horizon. Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) inaction, use of this highly toxic, volatile, and drift-prone herbicide on GMO cotton and soy continues to increase.
In 2016, the EPA began the dicamba nightmare with its approval for over-the-top spraying on dicamba-tolerant GMO soy and cotton. Despite the sounding of alarm bells by farmers and environmental groups like GMO/Toxin Free USA, EPA gave the herbicide the rubber stamp. Since its approval, dicamba drift has been responsible for damaging or destroying many millions of acres of non-GMO soy and cotton and other food crops like sugar beets, rice, sweet potatoes, peanuts, peaches, and grapes and harming the livelihoods of organic farmers. Drift has also caused widespread damage to oak trees, home gardens and landscape plantings. The herbicide is so volatile that it has the potential to re-aerosolize and drift days after its application in certain weather conditions, making it very difficult, if not impossible, to track back to the source.
And to add insult to injury, the USDA does zero testing of food crops for dicamba drift contamination.
In South Dakota, Little Shire Farm, an organic farm run by John and Lisa Zuhlke, was devastated multiple times over multiple years by dicamba drift. “We got completely wiped out. We had to stop production. All of our CSA shares, community-supported agriculture shares-gone; farmers markets–gone.”
Richard Coy was forced to shut down Coy’s Honey Farm in Arkansas, the largest family-operated beekeeping operation in the state, and move it to Mississippi. Dicamba drift damaged the vegetation his bees depended on to live, and also resulted in “undesirable product.” “It’s very emotional, but you can’t let emotions get in the way of business decisions, and the best business decision is to not go broke,” said Coy.
Bader Farms, the largest peach orchard in Missouri, reported 1,000 acres of peaches damaged by dicamba drift over multiple years. Bill Bader’s peach farm was put out of business.
These are only a few of the stories across the nation of the devastation caused by dicamba use on GMO crops.
Dicamba drift damaged an estimated 5 million acres of crops, trees and backyard gardens between 2016 and 2017 alone. Despite the massive reports of drift damage, in 2018 the EPA reapproved and expanded its use.
In 2020, researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that the use of dicamba can increase the risk of developing numerous cancers, including liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancers, acute and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and mantle cell lymphoma which may manifest up to 20 years after exposure. With dicamba’s ability to drift for miles, people in many areas of the country are now routinely forced to breathe in this dangerous pesticide.
In 2021, the EPA made some minimal changes to dicamba restrictions. But by the agency’s own admission, this did nothing to reduce drift damage. EPA’s own data shows dicamba has harmed thousands of farmers to date. The agency’s December 2021 report states that these numbers are likely an undercount by 25 times.
In the midst of the 2022 growing season, it’s the same song, different verse. With EPA’s inaction, more damage and health harms are on the way.
“I would like everyone to contact the EPA… If we can get enough people to rise up and say ‘enough is enough, we don’t want to poison our food’, maybe we can get something changed,” said beekeeper Richard Coy in a past interview.
We don’t need pathetic and ineffective restrictions. This dangerous herbicide should be banned. The EPA and other government agencies created to protect us and our environment must be put on notice. They need to know that we’re watching and we demand action. The people in charge must be called out and held accountable. Tell the EPA that we, the people, demand that carcinogenic and drift-prone dicamba be banned before it becomes the next glyphosate.