Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 7, 2017

Contact: Nathan Donley, (971) 717-6406,

Public Records Sought on EPA's Fast-track Approval of Controversial Pesticide

Monsanto's Toxic New Roundup Mixture Approved With No Public Input

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a Freedom of Information Act request today seeking communications between the Environmental Protection Agency and Monsanto regarding the agency’s fast-track approval of a controversial new pesticide mixture.

Known as Roundup Xtend, the mixture is projected to dramatically escalate use of dicamba, a highly drift-prone weed-killer implicated in damage to more than 3 million acres of soybeans in 21 states this year.

The toxic new mixture was created in response to weeds developing resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the world’s most-used pesticide. The new product combines glyphosate and dicamba. Roundup Xtend was developed for use on crops genetically engineered to resist both glyphosate and dicamba.

“This herbicide is projected to become the most-used pesticide in agriculture, yet the EPA approved it with zero public input,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center. “It raises serious questions about the far-too-cozy relationship between the EPA and Monsanto. Any product that increases the use of a dangerous pesticide like dicamba is bad news for wildlife and human health.”

Roundup Xtend was first approved under the obscure name “M1769 premix herbicide” in 2014 without public notice and comment. But it was one of the products identified in the Center’s Toxic Concoctions report that demonstrated enhanced synergistic toxicity to plants.

Following the publication of Toxic Concoctions in 2016, the EPA amended the pesticide label at Monsanto’s request to change the brand name to “Roundup XtendTM with VaporGripTM Technology.”

With the product approval already in place, all that is needed is a simple label amendment for this product to be used on the 50 million acres of Xtend soybean and cotton crops that are projected to be grown in 2018. The product can currently be used with Xtend corn, which gained USDA approval in 2016, but has yet to be commercialized by Monsanto.

EPA’s 2016 approval of dicamba on genetically engineered soy and cotton has been an ongoing embarrassment for the agency after it failed to account for spray drift and volatilization of the pesticide that already this year has damaged millions of acres of non-GE crops and native plants.

Recent revelations paint a disturbing picture of potential collusion between Monsanto and EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs. The EPA’s Office of Inspector General has opened an investigation into the matter following revelations that multiple high-ranking officials in the pesticide office were in direct communication with the agrochemical giant while trying to quash an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services into the safety of glyphosate.

“The approval of this pesticide highlights a failed process that routinely puts the wishes of the pesticide industry above the health and welfare of Americans and the landscapes and waterways all life depends on,” said Donley.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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