EPA mulls new lifeline for canceled weedkiller

By Marc Heller | 05/03/2024 04:01 PM EDT

Bayer Crop Science asked for a new registration for cancer-linked dicamba.

Dicamba damage

A farmer shows the damage to one of his soybean plants in Marvell, Arkansas, saying the herbicide dicamba drifted onto his unprotected fields. Andrew DeMillo/AP

Pesticide maker Bayer Crop Science has asked EPA to again let farmers use the weedkiller dicamba, which the agency partly banned after a lawsuit earlier this year.

EPA said it’s considering an application from Bayer to reregister dicamba for use on soybean and cotton engineered to tolerate it, with the possibility that new label restrictions could limit the chemical’s risks.

Although scientists have linked dicamba to potential human health dangers such as cancer, the dispute around its fate has centered on the herbicide’s tendency to blow away from fields where it’s applied and kill crops on neighboring fields that aren’t genetically modified to tolerate it.


“Like all opportunities for public comment associated with notices of receipt of applications, this action should not be interpreted as a registrant proposal that has been endorsed for future approval by EPA,” the environmental agency said in a news release.