Monsanto has decided to delay the public release of a chemical designed to be applied to seeds after concerning reports it causes rashes on people. It seems like a strange decision from the company that produces pesticides for genetically modified crops that do far worse things than cause rashes on people.
According to Reuters, Monsanto froze plans for commercial sales of the product called NemaStrike, which allegedly protects corn, soybeans and cotton from yield reducing worms called nematodes. The company said it conducted three years of field tests across the United States in preparation for a full launch and that more than 400 people used it this year as part of a trial.
This delayed release is just another setback for the controversial chemical giant which faces regular protests and restrictions or prohibitions in at least 40 countries.
“There have been limited cases of skin irritation, including rashes, that appear to be associated with the handling and application of this seed treatment product,” Brian Naber, U.S. commercial operations lead for Monsanto, said in a letter to customers about NemaStrike.
Spokeswoman Christi Dixon said people were not wearing enough protective gear when handling the dangerous chemical.
According to Reuters, the company expected NemaStrike to release across up to 8 million U.S. crop acres in fiscal year 2018, Chief Executive Hugh Grant said on a conference call last month. The product was “priced at a premium that reflects its consistent yield protection” against nematodes.
The EPA approved the safe “blockbuster technology”, according to Monsanto.
“The technology is effective and can be used safely when following label instructions,” Monsanto said.
The EPA also approved Monsanto’s new version of a weed killer using a chemical known as dicamba last year. Many farmers were not happy with the product and complained it evaporates and drifts from where it is applied, causing damage to crops that cannot resist it.
Monsanto blames farmers for this as well, saying they did not follow proper label instructions.
(Article By James Carter)