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Is it safe?

2,4-D has been evaluated and approved for use in more than 90 countries around the world. This includes Sweden and Denmark approving the registration of 2,4-D in 2011. Time and time again, pesticide regulators in the United States, Canada, Europe, and around the globe have determined that 2,4-D meets strict safety standards in line with the World Health Organization.

Each time regulators evaluate a pesticide – typically every 15 years – they require new studies to meet modern safety standards. Pesticide regulators conduct specific risk assessments for sensitive groups including children and pregnant women, taking their unique physiological characteristics into account. They also consider the health of workers exposed to pesticides and worst-case scenarios are taken into account when determining application rates and label instructions. In their assessments, regulators consider wildlife and household pets, including dogs. Regulators find that 2,4-D can be used safely according to label use and that owners can expect no harm to their pets.

The carcinogenicity of 2,4-D has been reviewed by numerous scientific and regulatory groups including the US EPA, Health Canada PMRA, the World Health Organization, New Zealand Environmental Risk Management Authority, the European Commission, and the European Food Safety Authority. All regulatory agencies are of one voice: 2,4-D may be used safely according to label directions.

In its 2015 evaluation, while voting to classify 2,4-D as a ‘2B – Possible’ carcinogen, an IARC working group concluded: “there is inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of 2,4-D,” as “epidemiological studies did not find strong or consistent increases in risk of NHL or other cancers in relation to 2,4-D exposure.” The full monograph will be published in 2016; a news release from IARC is available here.


Text infographic reading; EPA’s most recent decision is consistent with findings of other authorities such as World Health Organization Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and The European Commission. Safe is defined by the statute to mean that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures. — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2012. Order Denying NRDC’s Petition to Revoke Tolerances