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close this bookAmaranth to Zai Holes, Ideas for Growing Food under Difficult Conditions (ECHO; 1996; 397 pages)
View the documentOther ECHO publications
View the documentAbout this book
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contents1: Basics of agricultural development
Open this folder and view contents2: Vegetables and small fruits in the tropics
Open this folder and view contents3: Staple crops
Open this folder and view contents4: Multipurpose trees
Open this folder and view contents5: Farming systems and gardening techniques
Open this folder and view contents6: Soil health and plant nutrition
Open this folder and view contents7: Water resources
Open this folder and view contents8: Plant protection and pest control
Open this folder and view contents9: Domestic animals
Open this folder and view contents10: Food science
Open this folder and view contents11: Human health care
Open this folder and view contents12: Seeds and germplasm
Open this folder and view contents13: Energy and technologies
Open this folder and view contents14: From farm to market
Open this folder and view contents15: Training and missionary resources
Open this folder and view contents16: Oils
Open this folder and view contents17: Above-ground (urban) gardens
View the document18: What is ECHO?
View the documentAdditional ECHO publications
close this folderECHO development notes - issue 52
View the documentIn memoriam Scott Sherman, age 36
View the documentTropical high-altitude growing conditions
View the documentPortable gardens made from old tires.
View the documentNeem seed shelf life
View the documentHow toxic is the herbicide 2,4-d?
View the documentThe nitrogen fixing tree association
View the documentSeeds for the americas
View the documentHome-grown beans produce less gas
View the documentAnnouncements from echo
View the documentEchoes from our network
View the documentUpcoming events
View the documentBooks and other resources
Open this folder and view contentsECHO development notes: issue 53
Open this folder and view contents28 additional technical notes about tropical agriculture
Open this folder and view contentsPrinciples of agroforestry
Open this folder and view contentsGood nutrition on the small farm
 

How toxic is the herbicide 2,4-d?

[Abstracted from HortIdeas February 1996].

This is the most widely used herbicide in the world and the third most widely used in the USA. The US Environmental Protection Agency has required that it be re-registered to assure its safety. Several years ago I [MLP] spent a summer in laboratory research on 2,4-D. People were not yet so conscious of delayed injury from chemicals, so I often had it on my hands. When I heard that the EPA was taking a new look, I recalled that time with concern.

After completion of nearly all of the more than 200 studies required for re-registration, members of the pesticide industry task force presented results in a symposium. "None of the studies suggest that the chemical poses any significant risk when used properly." Various experts reported the following: when ingested orally [eaten] it is less toxic than caffeine and about as toxic as aspirin; it has low reproductive toxicity; it does not cause birth defects or genetic damage; it has low potential for damaging the central nervous system; there is little risk of exposure from eating crops treated with the herbicide; it rapidly degrades into non-toxic materials in the soil; it is improbable that it is carcinogenic.

For those not familiar with 2,4-D, it mimics a plant growth hormone, causing uncontrolled growth and curling, leading to death after several days. Grasses are not affected because they contain an enzyme that destroys the herbicide, but most broad-leafed plants are killed. Return to INDEX.

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