Save Our Crops Calls For Dicamba Tolerance Levels

Group says without known tolerance levels, herbicide drift may render the sale of non-target food crops illegal

Published on: Dec 18, 2012

Just 10 days after the Save Our Crops Coalition petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency for a drift warning label on generic 2,4-D, the group announced Tuesday it is also petitioning for EPA establishment of dicamba residue tolerance levels.

SOCC says tolerance levels will affect a broader range of food crops that are susceptible to the herbicide dicamba's exposure. Tuesday's announcement also follows a September request for an environmental impact statement on the dicamba tolerant cropping system. Currently, Monsanto and BASF have pending registrations for dicamba tolerant crops.

SOCC says dicamba tolerance levels should be established for non-target crops
SOCC says dicamba tolerance levels should be established for non-target crops

The group opposes the pending registrations, noting that effective protections have not been established for nearby food crops.

"Dicamba tolerances should be established before decisions are made regarding these pending regulatory applications," says Steve Smith, SOCC chairman.

Smith says farmers with nearby crops susceptible to dicamba drift "suffer losses when residues of a pesticide are found on a crop for which no tolerance has been established.  Modern testing technologies are so sensitive; trace residues must be recognized as a significant possibility.  If no tolerance has been established for a crop, any residue whatsoever makes sale of the crop illegal, so our farmers and processors must destroy the crop."

Though the petition does not propose specific tolerance levels, it does request that the EPA determine whether there are safe levels of dicamba residues. The group says without an established safe tolerance by the EPA, dicamba should not be approved for widespread use over major agricultural production areas in the interest of food safety.

The group requests that dicamba tolerances be investigated and established for specific varieties of grape, pepper, tomato, cucumber, muskmelon, pumpkin, squash, watermelon and other crops.

For a complete listing of the crops involved, visit www.saveourcrops.org.