Chemical Hazards

Chemical hazard information for 2,4-D is provided here, including label use information, acute and chronic residual exposure hazards to human health, and the impact of 2,4-D on the environment.

2,4-D Label Warnings

According to official, government sanctioned 2,4-D documents (e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet, and application and usage labels provided by the manufacturers), 2,4-D is not a target-specific herbicide. Unfortunately, manufacturers, distributors, and people who profit from 2,4-D suggest that 2,4-D is harmless to the environment and people exposed to the chemical, but these claims are unsupported by the chemical labels and data provided by the EPA. 2,4-D damages or kills many biological organisms (including flora and fauna) proportionally to chemical concentration and exposure time. That basic fact about 2,4-D is essential to understanding how pesticides cause collateral damage, affect the environment, and compromise human health.

The 2,4-D product label warns that shallow wells near treated lakes are at risk of contamination to drinking water. Many of the homeowners on Golden Lake obtain drinking water through point wells that are driven into sand a few feet away from the water’s edge in the substrate that is shared by the lake.

The product label warns that spring-fed waters and local well waters that share the same water table can be contaminated by the application of the chemical pesticide in the lake.

The product label further warns that use of chemicals in spring-fed lakes could contaminate deep wells that often share the same aquifer.

2,4-D Human Health Hazards

Many studies have demonstrated that exposure to trace amounts of 2,4-D cause chronic, reproductive, and developmental illness. Our review of the literature has indicated a consensus on several toxic effects of low-dosage, chronic exposure to 2,4-D, and many independent, publicly funded scientists have replicated these findings.

According to the Pediatrics paper mentioned earlier, acute exposure to chlorophenoxy herbicides (including 2,4-D) can result in:

  • Skin and mucous membrane irritation
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, headache, confusion
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Renal failure, hyperkalemia, and hypocalcemia
  • Cancer

In a comprehensive literature review that included dozens of primary research articles on chlorophenoxy herbicides, chronic exposure to 2,4-D was associated with the following illnesses:

  • Laryngeal cancers
  • Lung cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcoma (STS)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL)
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Chronic lymphoid leukemia (CLL)
  • Chloracne
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT)
  • Immune system disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Lipid and lipoprotein disorders

The review article can be freely downloaded here: A growing body of literature overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that chronic exposure to trace amounts of 2,4-D causes illness in humans.

As noted earlier, 2,4-D is not a specific herbicide as claimed by the manufacturers. Rather, 2,4-D damages or kills almost all biological organisms proportionally to concentration and exposure time.

Essentially this means your own reaction to 2,4-D, as a biological organism, is proportional to your exposure. The effects of the damage to humans are also proportional to the age at which they are exposed. If an embryo is exposed to 2,4-D, then the damage can result in loss of life to the embryo or major medical problems for the life of the child. If a growing child is exposed, then the results can be severely damaging. If an elderly person with weakly functioning organisms is exposed, the results can be destructive as well.

These basic facts about 2,4-D are why women of childbearing age, young children, and adults with compromised organ function are especially vulnerable to trace amounts of chemicals such as 2,4-D.

2,4-D Environmental Hazards

It is of no surprise that pesticides including 2,4-D are also toxic to "non-targeted" flora and fauna. As mentioned earlier, even the 2,4-D label provided by the manufacturer states this fact.

Many area lakes have tried using chemical pesticides with limited success and the onset of chemical dependency. Property owners almost invariably become dependent on the chemical, feeling it is the only way to combat the growing weed problem. Ironically, the very act of introducing chemicals into the lake water causes accelerated hybrid growth due to natural adaptation of the plants and the environment. The landowners then insist that the only solution is to dump more chemicals into the lake. This chemical dependence can last indefinitely, and increasing amounts of the chemical are needed to control weeds. The management program becomes very costly, and chemical treatments are often applied once or twice per year—by prescription. This chemical dependency almost invariably never stops, and chronic exposure to 2,4-D becomes a way of life for lake residents.