U.S. approves use of Bayer weed killer for five years

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U.S. approves use of Bayer weed killer for five years

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it will allow farmers to spray crops with weed killers based on the chemical dicamba that are sold by Bayer AG and other companies, after a U.S. appeals court blocked sales in June.

The decision is a boost for Bayer, which has been hammered by lawsuits over various chemicals in the United States since acquiring seed company Monsanto in 2018. Critics said it was another example of the Trump administration favoring business interests over regulations, just a week before the presidential election.

The EPA re-approved for five years Bayer’s XtendiMax, a popular dicamba-based herbicide that is sprayed on soybeans and cotton genetically engineered to resist it. It is known to drift away and damage other crops that are not resistant to it.

The EPA will implement new restrictions on dicamba products that will “take care of the drift issues that we have witnessed in the past,” Administrator Andrew Wheeler told reporters on a call.

The agency also re-approved BASF SE's dicamba herbicide Engenia and extended an approval for Syngenta's Tavium.

Environmental groups have sought a ban on dicamba products, arguing they harm nearby plants and wildlife.

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