EPA Stops The Sale Of DuPont’s Tree-Killing Herbicide


Last month, Care2′s Miranda Perry reported on an herbicide that was thought to be responsible for thousands of dead and dying trees across the United States. Over 700 Care2 members signed a petition asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revoke its approval until the toxic chemical can undergo additional safety testing.

Just a few weeks later, the EPA ordered the DuPont chemical company†to immediately halt the sale, use and distribution of the herbicide Imprelis, citing possible violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The EPA’s order makes the herbicide illegal, and anyone who continues to sell or use Imprelis could be subject to civil or criminal penalties.

Designed to eliminate†broadleaf weeds like dandelion and clover, Imprelis was†widely used by professional landscapers because it was thought to be environmentally friendly. Approved for use in late 2010, it was only seven months before property owners started reporting withered and dying trees.

Dupont was anything but sympathetic:

In a†June 17 letter to its landscape customers, Michael McDermott, a DuPont products official, seemed to put the onus for the tree deaths on workers applying Imprelis. He wrote that customers with affected trees might not have mixed the herbicide properly or might have combined it with other herbicides. DuPont officials have also suggested that the trees may come back, and have asked landscapers to leave them in the ground (New York Times).

Since approving the herbicide for licensed landscapers and lawn care services, the EPA reports that there have been over 7,000 adverse incidents involving damage (including death) to non-target trees — primarily Norway spruce and white pine — related to the application of Imprelis.† Test data from DuPont has confirmed certain coniferous trees, including Norway spruce and balsam fir, as susceptible to being damaged or killed by the application of Imprelis.

In its ongoing evaluation, the EPA is investigating whether these incidents are the result of product misuse, inadequate warnings and use directions on the productís 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.

Several lawsuits have been filed by individuals and companies involving the use of Imprelis. So many trees have died from the East Coast to Iowa that the damage is projected to be in the millions of dollars (Miami Herald).

Thanks to all the Care2 members who signed the petition! Your support helped remove a dangerous product from the shelves and prevented the death of thousands of trees.

Related Reading:

Genetically-Modified Corn And Soy Breed Superweeds

Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Linked To Diminished IQ

Pesticides May Increase Risk of ADHD in Children

Image Credit: John E. Kraminski

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Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

Great news.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.4 years ago

thanks for telling the world

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.4 years ago

great news

Yvette S.
Past Member 4 years ago

Heather F.; Thank you for this information. I would be interested in learning more. Thought about writing an article? Please do!

Yvette S.
Past Member 4 years ago

Chelsea M. Thank you for your insightful observations. Brava!

Heather Ferguson
Heather Dixey4 years ago

So the plants started suffering after the deep water horizon exploded and they sprayed c0rexit. The corexit is a pesticide, surfactant, solvent. Which when mixed with oil and warm water becomes upwards of ten times more toxic. This breaks down the oil into tiny molecules that will vaporize. Once the rain started burning my skin and my plants I started asking questions and documenting. I have now seen the plants in 20 different states and watched some turn ugly just after it rains. I have also had the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Ira Liefer about surveying the atmosphere and they are finding plumes that come down on us in the form of rain. Viola, red rain! I don't like Dupont either but they are not the only ones at fault. Not only was B-P in charge of the USA's worst Oil spill but simultaneously they were having the US's worst chemical release in history in Texas City. It was overshadowed by the oil spill. I'm terribly worried about the plants and animals and insects. I've taken some 6,000 images and wonder sometimes if I'm the only one seeing their deaths?

Roxana J.
Roxana J.4 years ago

This are great news, thanks for all of you who helped!!

Suzanne Hall
Suzanne Hall4 years ago

Thanks to all who made this possible, and thank you EPA for banning this horrible chemical.

Valley R.
Valley Reed4 years ago

It is so nice to finally have an EPA that does it's job, thanks to the Obama administration. People not Profits! Now if they would just end corporate welfare!

Ruth R.
Ruth R.4 years ago

Yes! Congratulations to those who did the work. Thank you that the tree killing pesticide is stopped.