Monsanto Pesticide Banned During Arkansas Growing Season

Pesticides can make it much easier to produce food, textiles, and other agricultural products. Unfortunately, many common pesticides are also linked to birth defects, some very severe.

Farm workers and those who live near farms can be exposed to these pesticides, sometimes in large quantities. Because of this danger, some states restrict or ban the use of certain pesticides. Arkansas has joined this rank by banning the use of Monsanto’s pesticide product dicamba during their warm weather growing season.

The Dangers of Herbicide and Pesticide Exposure

Pesticides and herbicides contain harsh chemicals that have been linked to such birth defects as low birth weight, neurological disorders, cancers, endocrine system disorders, chromosome disorders, and physical disabilities.

Farm workers are often exposed to the adverse effects of these pesticides by breathing in the chemicals, or absorbing them through their skin while mixing, applying them, or working with plants and soil that have been treated by pesticides or herbicides. Those who live near farms where pesticides are used can be exposed through groundwater contamination or chemicals that travel through the air or are sprayed beyond the boundaries of the farms. Even employees of the pesticide makers can be at risk when they are preparing and packaging the products for commercial and consumer use.

Arkansas Combats Dangerous Herbicide Pollution with Dicamba Restrictions

To help protect other farmers and citizens, the Arkansas State Plant Board originally banned the use of dicamba for the 2019 growing season, from April 15 through October — the entire warm weather growing season when the pesticide is at greatest risk of spreading. However, a new decision from the state’s Governor now places a May 25 cut-off date on use of the herbicide.

According to the new rule, from April 16-May 25, all applications of dicamba must be reported to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s online registry within 10 days of the application. Additionally, applicators of this particular pesticide must be able to provide the agency with a map of the application areas. Farmers who are caught illegally spraying dicamba can be fined up to $25,000 for each violation.

How Dicamba Works

Dicamba targets broadleaf plants, which includes many common weeds that plague gardeners and commercial growers. It is commonly used to treat soybean plants. Although soybean plants are broadleaf plants that would typically be killed by dicamba, farmers that use dicamba use genetically modified soybean plants that are resistant to dicamba. This ensures that dicamba kills the weeds but not the cash crop.

The problem with dicamba is that it evaporates in warm weather and spreads through the air. This poses a threat to other crops grown nearby, backyard gardens, and the local population who may breathe it in or drink water that has absorbed the pesticide.

Dicamba is classified as a restricted-use pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency. Because of this classification, anyone who applies the herbicide must have special training and take specific precautions during use.

How We Help Victims of Pesticide Exposure

Seek justice with the help of our experienced birth defects attorneys. If you or a loved one was exposed to pesticides while pregnant and now have a child who suffers from a life-altering birth defect, call us to see how we can help you and your family receive justice. Our team has over 30 years of combined experience in birth defects litigation in cases involving pesticide exposure.