Dow AgroSciences Offers Innovative Green Chemistry
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Grower demand for green chemistry is exploding with concerns about food and worker safety, according to Andy Fordice, product manager for insecticides at Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company and provider of crop protection and plant biotechnology solutions. Green chemistry is defined as the design and production of solutions that minimize the generation and use of hazardous substances.
"Growers are looking for safe, selective chemicals with short reentry intervals and short preharvest intervals that are effective on destructive pests," Fordice said. "We're very proud of the selective chemicals we offer."
According to Fordice, in the mid 1990s Dow was the first chemical company to enter the field of green chemistry. After two decades of investment, Dow's green chemistry business is currently two times the size of its nearest competitor. Approximately 12 field scientists and biologists are engaged in green chemistry research and development. More than 50 marketing and sales people support the business and its customers.
An Award-Winning Track Record
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promotes green chemistry through its Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, which recognize innovative chemical technologies that prevent pollution and have broad applicability in industry.
Dow has won four Green Chemistry Awards since 1998, more than any other agricultural company. The award-winning chemicals include:
- Diacylhydrazines offer farmers, consumers, and society a safer, effective technology for insect control in turf and a variety of agronomic crops. Intrepid® is one agricultural management tool that was created using this chemistry.
- Spinosad biopesticidem is a highly selective, environmentally friendly insecticide, which does not leach, bioaccumulate, volatilize, or persist in the environment. Spinosad has proven effective in controlling many chewing insect pests in cotton, trees, fruits, vegetables, turf, and ornamentals. Trade names of spinosad include Blackhawk, Success, Tracer, Entrust, GF-120 and SpinTor.
- Hexaflumuron is a termite control agent that is attractive from an environmental and human risk perspective. The potential for adverse effects is dramatically reduced because it is present only in very small quantities in stations with termite activity.
- Spinetoram provides significant and immediate benefits to human health and the environment over existing insecticides. Its low toxicity reduces the risk of exposure throughout the supply chain: in manufacturing, transportation, and application and to the public. Trade names include Radiant® and Delegate®.
While the EPA does not mandate the use of green chemicals, when effective green products become commercially available, the agency will phase out older, broader spectrum chemicals. For example, the EPA has ruled it will phase out remaining uses of azinphos-methyl by Sept. 30, 2012 and growers will then be encouraged to move toward greener products like Dow's spinetoram, which is sold as Delegate® in tree fruit. The company expects spinetoram will eliminate about 1.8 million pounds of organophosphate insecticides applied to pome fruit, stone fruit and tree nuts in the U.S. alone during its first five years of use.
Researchers Dow AgroSciences and other agrichemical companies are working now to develop a solution to control the brown marmorated stink bug, an Asian insect that has invaded the mid-Atlantic states. Besides being a household nuisance, the insects suck the juice out of fruit and vegetable crops, making them a major problem for growers.
"I'd say that's probably the Holy Grail right now for chemical companies as growers are actively needing new control options to fit their pest management programs," Fordice said.
While certain skeptics consider green chemistry nothing more than public relations terminology, Fordice sees it very differently.
"Consumers, growers, workers and everyone in the distribution channel are demanding safer solutions. At the same time, growers need effective, selective pest management. The products we have in our stable - including Delegate, Radiant, Entrust, Blackhawk, Success and Intrepid - meet their needs," Fordice said.
More information on Dow AgroSciences and its green chemistry efforts is available at www.dowagro.com/sustainability.