Grass Clippings Treated with DuPont Imprelis Herbicide Should Not be Composted

Property owners are being warned not to mulch glass clippings from lawns treated with DuPont’s now-banned <"">Imprelis herbicide. According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, clippings from Imprelis-treated lawns could damage trees if they are used as compost.

Imprelis, which DuPont began selling to licensed landscapers last October after it was conditionally approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was supposed to be an environmentally safe solution for controlling broadleaf weeds. But around Memorial Day, property owners and landscapers began to complain of dead and damaged trees in areas where Imprelis had been sprayed. Reported symptoms included twisting and curling, possibly followed by browning of needles, shoots and branch tips. While most damage reports involve coniferous trees, such as white pine and Norway spruce, injury has also been seen on other ornamental plants and deciduous trees, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

After conducting its own investigation, DuPont announced on August 4 that it would voluntarily suspend sales of Imprelis. The company also said it was working on establishing an Imprelis refund and return program for its customers.

Last Thursday, the EPA officially issued DuPont a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order (SSURO) after data provided by DuPont confirmed that certain coniferous trees, including Norway spruce, white pine and balsam fir, were susceptible to being damaged or killed by the application of Imprelis.

In a warning posted on its website yesterday, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture warned grass clippings from lawns treated with Imprelis herbicide may still contain enough of the product to damage some plants.

“We want to make sure people understand that there may be a related impact if using grass clippings from yards where this product was used,” Pesticide and Fertilizer Division Director Greg Buzicky said. “Homeowners should not spread Imprelis-treated grass clippings near trees, other ornamental plants or gardens. If clippings are not left on the lawn, they can be disposed of in the trash, but only where allowed by local yard waste regulations. Clippings should not be added to garden compost or collected for composting facilities.”

At least 18 Imprelis lawsuits are pending in federal courts in Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation announced yesterday that it will convene a hearing on September 27 to consider consolidation of Imprelis lawsuits in a single federal court.

The national law firm of Parker Waichman Alonso, LLP has filed a dozen Imprelis lawsuits in Midwestern states, including Ohio and Iowa. It has plans to file more, and a partner with the firm recently told The New York Times that DuPont could face billions in damages.

“You are talking about a lot of people who have dead trees 40 to 50 feet tall, 30 or 50 years old that each cost $20,000 or $25,000 to replace,” Jordan Chaikin said.

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