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Dow Chemical Drops 2,4-D Lawsuit

In a classic case of legal “uncle,” the American chemical giant Dow AgroSciences dropped its $2 million lawsuit yesterday against the Quebec government concerning the province-wide ban of the weed killer known as 2,4-D.

Both sides, the provincial government and the world’s second largest chemical company, claimed victory in the odd standoff. Dow agreed to stop fighting the 2004 ban on the toxic chemical for lawn and garden use; the government agreed to issue a statement that basically says 2,4-D is safe when used as directed.

Ultimately consumers win, however, because the bans that affect most of Canada — that the Canadian Supreme Court deemed legal in 2001 — will stand. Eighty percent of Canadian citizens now live in municipalities where 2,4-D is illegal to use on lawns and gardens and given this legal wrangling it appears unlikely that any further legal challenges will come forth.

It is likely, however, that Dow Chemical, Scotts Miracle-Gro, TruGreen ChemLawn and others will point to the Quebec government’s safety statement when any new provincial or municipal ban proposals are brought forth in the future.

This fight over 2,4-D, in other words, won’t go away anytime soon. In much of Canada, at least, the product won’t be coming back to lawns and gardens — probably ever.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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  • marion copleston

    I would be interested in seeing the exact statement of the government regarding the “safe” use of 2,4-D, as it is my understanding that it is illegal to say that a pesticide is safe. On can only say that it is “approved” or similar words.
    Thanks,
    Marion

  • http://n/a Gillian Broughton

    2, 4 D Diclorophenol destroyed both mine and my sons health , the farmer was spraying weedkiller with full protection , this chemical was part used in Agent Orange in vietnam war killing thousands of vetrans .
    2,4 D is a carcogenic evil chemical !!!

  • http://peienvironmentalhealth.org Marion Copleston

    I followed up on this and in an article on the David Suzuki web site it says:

    Dow has withdrawn its legal claims and receives no compensation. In exchange, Quebec acknowledged the federal regulatory assessment that 2, 4-D does “not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment, provided that the instructions on their label are followed.”

    So they are not saying it is safe.

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