Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Iowa Property Owner Joins Long Line of Owners with Damaged Trees

By: Duane Craig

The Iowa plaintiff in a lawsuit against E.I.DuPont joins potentially thousands across the country who are making claims against the company for damages resulting from using one of the company’s products to control lawn weeds, according to this article.

In this case, the property owner hired a lawn care firm to take care of his lawn. That firm used DuPont’s Imprelis herbicide to control lawn weeds, but besides killing weeds, the chemical also began killing the plaintiff’s trees. Within two weeks, trees were browning and experiencing leaf curling with one mature Red Maple dying completely.

This property owner joins about 30,000 others across the country who are seeking damages from DuPont because of Imprelis, according to this article. Ultimately, hundreds of thousands of trees may be damaged or killed by the herbicide that was touted as being environmentally friendly and having low toxicity to mammals.
Imprelis was first used in the fall of 2010, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s report. That was after DuPont did about 400 efficacy and phytotoxicity field trials and then claimed it did no damage to trees. However, the EPA required restrictions on the product’s labeling because it had evidence the active ingredient, aminocyclopyrachlor, when present in composted materials, posed a risk to plants. The product was widely distributed during the spring of 2011, and tree damage started showing up during the summer months. By Aug. 4, 2011, DuPont had received enough evidence to convince it that Imprelis was also a good tree killer. It withdrew the product from the market. A week later, the EPA issued an order to the company to stop selling Imprelis and recall unused quantities.

According to this report, there was a conflict between the EPA and DuPont over information not being made publicly available. DuPont earlier claimed the study data on the herbicide was confidential, but after pressure from the EPA, it removed the confidential restrictions on the portions of the study data EPA said should be public.

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