Legislative Alert: Investigation on herbicide 2,4-D

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) issued a legislative alert regarding 2, 4-D.

2,4-D, a chemical found in some herbicides used in the landscape industry, was recently reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The group rated 2,4-D as 2B – a possible carcinogen. The 2,4-D Research Task Force responded, saying “the IARC classification of 2,4-D as a “2B – possible” carcinogen is at odds with comprehensive cancer reviews completed by health and safety regulators worldwide.” “No regulatory agency in the world considers 2,4-D to be a carcinogen,” said Dr. Julie Goodman, an epidemiologist, board certified toxicologist and consultant to the 2,4-D Research Task Force. The IARC is an agency associated with the World Health Organization (WHO) that creates working groups to periodically consider lifestyles, workplaces, and compounds that may have carcinogenicity potential. The IARC working groups are made up of scientists from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Over the course of one week, IARC working group members consider a selection of literature and provide a rating for the cancerous risk of a certain pesticide. Here is an example of their scoring.


Position on the IARC Review of 2,4-D

NALP and its members are just as concerned as the public that the products they use every day are as safe as possible. Experienced landscape professionals are knowledgeable about how to choose and apply inputs. Applicators are licensed and regulated by state and federal laws, and the products they use are also subject to government review and regulation. We support the use of EPA and State approved products when used according to manufacturer specifications. We have confidence in the EPA scientists and other world regulatory agencies whose job it is to review all data, new and old, and require continued evaluation to assure that the products on the market can be used safely. The IARC’s new hazard ranking of 2,4-D as 2B, puts it in the same hazard category as things like aloe vera, coffee and pickled vegetables. We support the EPA’s current position on 2,4-D’s safety.


Talking Points


The IARC, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is not a regulatory agency like the EPA, it is an international research group.

The IARC’s ranking of 2,4-D as “2B – a possible carcinogen” does not mean that 2,4-D causes or is even likely to cause cancer in people. The IARC ranks substances based on potential hazards, they have assigned its 2B grouping to many other common products including aloe vera, coffee and pickled vegetables.

The World Health Organization’s agency responsible for conducting risk assessments of pesticides for regulatory purposes has been reviewing pesticides since 1963 and has reviewed 2,4-D five times and has concluded that there is no evidence of carcinogenicity.

Based on 70 years of ongoing and continually updated scientific study, all pesticide regulatory agencies say that 2,4-D may be used safely according to label instructions.

The IARC in its own statement said “However, epidemiological studies did not find strong or consistent increases in risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or other cancers in relation to 2,4-D exposure …”

Lawn care applicators are state licensed and they are just as concerned as customers that the products they use every day are the safest possible. They are knowledgeable about how to apply EPA approved products.