The NRDC has filed suit against the EPA in an attempt to get it to cancel registrations for 2,4-D, which has been linked to hormone interference.
This weekend, I walked the aisles of a large home supply store near my home. Sure enough, on the shelves were an array of weed killers and "weed and feed" products marketed to keep your lawn looking great. My little lawn doesn't look so great. That's partly because my two dogs love it so much -- their playful digging, and the brown patches where they urinate, have marred the perfection of the grass. But I wasn't there to shop for lawn care products; instead, I was hunting for a pesticide known as 2,4-D.
I found it -- in several different products. You can see the photos below.
2,4-D was invented in the chemical boom during World War II, making it one of the oldest pesticides that's still legally on the market today. It was one of the two active ingredients in Agent Orange, the notorious Vietnam War defoliant. Despite decades of scientific studies showing links to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans (and Canine Malignant Lymphoma in household dogs), this chemical survives and thrives as one of the top three pesticides sold in the United States today. Newer science shows that it's not just a cancer problem, but that this pesticide interferes with several essential hormones, thereby increasing the risks of birth defects and neurologic damage in children. Studies in Midwest wheat-growing areas (where 2,4-D is heavily used) have shown increased rates of certain birth defects, especially in male children, and lower sperm counts in adults.