won't ban disputed chemical
By Tom Henry
The Toledo Blade
Ohio is not following Michiganís lead in banning a weed-killer
blamed for contaminating water in some states.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture will allow restricted
use of the farm herbicide isoxaflutole to continue as
long as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers
it safe to do so, Melanie Witt, state agriculture spokesman,
Isoxaflutole is the active chemical in a product called
Balance Pro, which the U.S. EPA approved for use on a
conditional basis in 1998. That gave states the option
of either banning it on their own or limiting it to those
certified to buy and apply it.
Michigan has banned Balance Pro since 2001, claiming
it has not been tested enough. The federal EPA has approved
its use in 17 states, but its active chemical is listed
as a potential carcinogen and has been found in surface
and ground water in some of those states, officials have
No problems have been documented in Ohio, though the
stateís experience with Balance Pro is limited. It was
certified for use in Ohio in October, 2001, Ms. Witt said.
It is registered for use in Ohio through June, 2004. "It
gives an opportunity to re-evaluate the product,"
Balance Proís supporters renewed efforts in Michigan
to use the product on cornfields there. They said they
need something to combat weeds that build up a resistance
to other herbicides.
Keith Creagh, Michigan deputy agriculture director, said
Monday the latest request has been rejected. His boss,
Dan Wyant, state agriculture director, followed a staff
recommendation that warned of potential risks, officials
In a letter to the manufacturer, Bayer Crop Science,
Michiganís Kenneth Rauscher cited concerns about stream
sampling results in Nebraska and Missouri. Mr. Rauscher
is the Michigan agriculture departmentís pesticide and
plant management director.
Company officials maintain the product is safe.
Dave Dempsey, Michigan Environmental Council policy adviser,
called the stateís action prudent.
Balance Pro was approved for use in Wisconsin last year,
but with so many restrictions that Bayer Crop decided
not to sell it there.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.