EPA stops sale of Dupont herbicide


Photo by xnt14, Flickr

A month ago the Iowa Environmental Focus covered a story on the link between the herbicide Imprelis and damaged trees. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency officially ordered DuPont to halt sales of the product. Earlier in the month, Dupont independently ceased selling Imprelis indefinitely.

The EPA issued a press release on their decision:

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued an order to E.I. DuPont de Nemours (DuPont) directing the company to immediately halt the sale, use or distribution of Imprelis, an herbicide marketed to control weeds that has been reported to be harming a large number of trees, including Norway spruce and white pine. The order, issued under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), requires DuPont to stop the sale and distribution of Imprelis in the U.S. and outlines specific conditions to ensure that the removal of Imprelis from the market meets legal requirements.

This action follows EPA’s investigation into why a large number of evergreens and other trees have been harmed following the use of the herbicide. In its evaluation, EPA is investigating whether these incidents are the result of product misuse, inadequate warnings and use directions on the product’s label, persistence in soil and plant material, uptake of the product through the root systems and absorbed into the plant tissue, environmental factors, potential runoff issues or other possible causes.

On June 17, 2011, DuPont issued a letter to professional applicators cautioning against the use of Imprelis where Norway spruce or white pine trees are present on, or in close proximity to, the property being treated. On July 27, 2011, DuPont acknowledged to the EPA that there has been damage to trees associated with Imprelis use and the company had developed an internet web page to provide information and updates concerning Imprelis use.

On August 4, 2011, DuPont voluntarily suspended sales of Imprelis and announced that it will soon conduct a product return and refund program.

FIFRA is a federal law that requires the registration of pesticide products and pesticide-production facilities, and the proper labeling of pesticides. This requirement protects public health and the environment by ensuring safe production, handling, and application of pesticides and by preventing false or misleading product claims.

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