Is there cancer risk from 2,4-D?

Different organizations have taken different stances on 2,4-D’s cancer risk. On August 8, 2007, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a ruling that stated that existing data does not support a conclusion that links human cancer to 2,4-D exposure. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified 2,4-D among the phenoxy acid herbicides MCPA and 2,4,5-T as a class 2B carcinogen – possibly carcinogenic to humans. A 1995 panel of 13 scientists reviewing studies on the carcinogenicity of 2,4-D had divided opinions, but the predominant opinion was that it is possible that 2,4-D causes cancer in humans.

A 1990 study of farmers in Nebraska, even when adjusting for exposure to other chemicals, found that 2,4-D exposure substantially increased the risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). A 2000 study of 1517 former employees of Dow Chemical Company who had been exposed to the chemical in manufacturing or formulating 2,4-D found no significant increase in risk of mortality due to NHL following 2,4-D exposure, but did find an increase in risk of mortality due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The amine salt formulations can cause irreversible eye damage (blindness); ester formulations are considered non-irritating to the eyes.

One study found that occupational exposure to 2,4-D caused male reproductive problems, including dead and malformed sperm.


Is there cancer risk from 2,4-D? | Maui News | The Moon over Haleakala

1 Comment

  1. Jim Gray
    December 5, 2010

    Responding to the post on “Is there cancer risk from 2,4-D”. After rigorous scientific study over several decades, not a single regulatory agency in the world mandated with protecting public health identifies 2,4-D as a human or animal carcinogen. Regulatory decisions regarding 2,4-D are based on an enormous body of research that has been conducted by some 30 independent EPA Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) accredited laboratories in concert with studies and reports published in scientific journals as well as other foreign nation and international organization reviews. These decisions are recent, with EPA approval in 2005 and Canada’s PMRA approval in 2008. Additional factual information on 2,4-D may be found at


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