In a petition filed on November 6, 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) requested that EPA cancel all product registrations and revoke all tolerances (legal residue limits in food) for the pesticide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, or 2,4-D. After considering public comment received on the petition and all the available studies, EPA is denying the request to revoke all tolerances and the request to cancel all registrations.

By way of background, in 2005, as part of the regulatory process to ensure pesticides meet current regulatory standards, EPA completed a review on the registration and on the safety of the tolerances for 2,4-D. EPA determined that all products containing 2,4-D are eligible for reregistration, provided certain changes were incorporated into the labels and additional data were generated and submitted to the EPA for review.  

During the recent review of the petition from NRDC to revoke the tolerances, EPA evaluated all the data cited by NRDC and new studies submitted to EPA in response to the reregistration decision. Included in the new studies is a state-of-the-science extended one-generation reproduction study. That study provides an in-depth examination of 2,4-D’s potential for endocrine disruptor, neurotoxic, and immunotoxic effects. This study and EPA’s comprehensive review confirmed EPA’s previous finding that the 2,4-D tolerances are safe. 

EPA also carefully reviewed NRDC’s request that the Agency cancel all 2,4-D product registrations. Based on studies addressing endocrine effects on wildlife species and the adequacy of personal protective equipment for workers, the agency concluded that the science behind our current ecological and worker risk assessments for 2,4-D is sound and there is no basis to change the registrations.   

2,4-D is a phenoxy herbicide and plant growth regulator that has been used in the U.S. since the 1940s.  It is currently found in approximately 600 products registered for agricultural, residential, industrial, and aquatic uses. There are 85 tolerances for 2,4-D. EPA published the NRDC petition for public comment on December 24, 2008.