Pesticide Free Future

Illinoisans call for an end to destructive dicamba herbicide

When dicamba drifts, it wreaks havoc on America’s farms & communities. Illinoisans are among the most impacted – they’re calling for an end to the destruction.

Danielle Melgar | TPIN
Illinoisans photo petition for an end to destructive dicamba

PIRG mobilized over 300 Illinoisans and out-of-state visitors at Chicago farmers markets to send messages to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking the agency to stop allowing a dangerous, drifting herbicide, dicamba, to be used. Our organizers also collected over a dozen photo petitions from market goers to help raise visibility for the campaign. 

Dicamba is an herbicide that is commonly used on genetically modified soy, corn, and cotton. Even if applied according to the instructions on the label, dicamba easily drifts through the air and travels up to three miles away from where it was originally used. That drift can even happen days after the herbicide was sprayed, as shifting weather conditions, such as a rise in temperature or wind speed, can trigger a drift event. No matter how careful a farmer is, this volatile herbicide is just inherently difficult to control. As an herbicide, it’s meant to damage or kill weeds that threaten a farmer’s crops. So when it drifts, it commonly damages or kills the plants it lands on, but they aren’t always weeds. Other crops, trees, wildflowers, pollinator habitats, and people’s own backyard gardens can all be damaged by drifting dicamba.

Despite putting restrictions in place to attempt to reduce the drift, the EPA has not seen significant improvement in the problem. A few farmers shouldn’t be allowed to make a decision that wreaks havoc on everyone else’s farms, parks, and gardens. That’s why PIRG is calling on the EPA to ban destructive dicamba and set a precedent that the agency must consider a pesticide’s propensity to drift in its future decisions about whether to register pesticides. 

Learn more about PIRG’s Ban Destructive Dicamba campaign and send a message to the EPA.

Elayna Whiteman

Food & Agriculture Intern

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staff | TPIN

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