Imprelis Recall Coming, DuPont Says

DuPont has decided to issue a recall of its <"">Imprelis herbicide, and discontinue sales of the product, Reuters is reporting. Imprelis has been named in hundreds of customer complaints, as well as a number of class action lawsuits, that claim Imprelis caused damage to, and in some cases killed, thousands of landscape trees around the country.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only approved Imprelis for sale last October. The herbicide was marketed to turf management professionals as an environmentally friendly way to eliminate broadleaf weeds. According to a report from The New York Times, the EPA reviewed Imprelis for 23 months before granting it conditional approval, meaning that all of the safety data was not yet in but the agency judged Imprelis to be a good product. DuPont says Imprelis went through about 400 trials, including tests on conifers, and performed without problem.

But in late spring, reports began to crop up around the country of tree damage that followed Imprelis applications. This prompted extension services in several states, including Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan to issues alerts for Imprelis. DuPont began investigating the problems in June, and the EPA started it own “expedited review” of the herbicide in response to the reports. DuPont also advised landscapers and other professional gardeners to avoid spraying the product near Norway spruce or white pine, or in places where the product might drift toward such trees or run off toward their roots.

Now Reuters is reporting that DuPont is in talks with the EPA to recall and stop sales of Imprelis. In a statement issued this afternoon, the company said the talks were focused on “the most effective way to implement our recommendation of a voluntary suspension of sale of DuPont Imprelis herbicide, and a product return and refund program.”

According to Reuters, the announcement comes one day after the EPA sent letters to DuPont urging it to release thousands of confidential documents on Imprelis’ safety and effectiveness. The agency also urged DuPont to meet with it next Tuesday to discuss halting Imprelis sales, and an unnamed source told Reuters that the EPA was preparing a “Stop Sale” order for the herbicide.

DuPont has already been named in a number of Imprelis class action lawsuits, including three filed by a legal consortium that includes the national law firm of <"">Parker Waichman Alonso LLP. Imprelis lawsuits accuse DuPont of, among other things, negligence and fraud in the marketing of Imprelis. The claims seek injunctive relief barring DuPont from continued sale of Imprelis, as well as compensatory and other damages, including the cost of replacing trees allegedly harmed by Imprelis.

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