EPA Orders Recall of DuPont's Imprelis Herbicide
After reviewing thousands of complaints of damage to evergreens and other trees, the Enviornmental Protection Agency has ordered a recall of DuPont's new herbicide Imprelis.
The order, issued under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, requires DuPont to immediately stop the sale and distribution of Imprelis in the U.S. Market.
In its news release, the EPA said it's investigating whether damage to trees is the result of product misuse, inadequate warnings and use directions on the Imprelis label, uptake of the product through root systems, environmental factors, potentail runoff issues, or other causes.
Legal firms have filed lawsuits by the dozens on behalf of landscapers, homeowners and land owners whose trees have been affected and in some cases killed by the herbicide. Damages are estimated to ultimately approach one billion dollars, according to Jordan Chaikin, a partner in the law firm Parker, Waichman and Alonso. “You are talking about a lot of people who have dead trees 40 to 50 feet tall, 30 or 50 years old that each cost $20,000 or $25,000 to replace.” , said Chaikin.
While Imprelis was only approved and licensed for use on broadleaf weeds by turf professionals in August, 2010, coniferous trees started showing damage this June. Customer complaints quickly grew into the thousands, spurring the EPA investigation.Many landscapers switched to Imprelis this year to control broadleaf weeds such as dandelions because it was touted by DuPont as safer for the environment than its predecessors.
To complicate matters, the EPA investigation has revealed that DuPont actually knew of Imprelis' potential to damage evergreens, but never included this information on the product label
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According to the Detroit Free Press, “the EPA said that DuPont had test data that showed its herbicide Imprelis was harmful to Norway spruce, balsam fir and other trees when it was given EPA approval last August.
“Despite that test data,” the EPA said, DuPont "does not warn or caution about potential damage to trees. There was nothing in the labeling or instructions that indicated that it could hurt certain species of trees” EPA did not respond to questions about whether it had seen the test data before the weedkiller's approval.