Imprelis was only brought to market by DuPont in the fall of 2010, and touted as “the most advanced turf herbicide in over 40 years.” Sold only to licensed turf managers and landscaping companies, Imprelis was designed to be used to rid lawns of stubborn, broadleaf weeds including clover and dandelions. The active ingredient in the herbicide is aminocyclopyrachlor, which DuPont asserted was more environmentally friendly than older herbicides.
DuPont’s Imprelis marketing claims regarding the herbicide’s supposed environmental friendliness had the desired impact, and by the spring of 2011, Imprelis had been widely adopted by lawn care professionals. By Memorial Day, however, the EPA was receiving reports from around the country regarding mature landscape trees in the vicinity of DuPont Imprelis applications that had been damaged or died shortly after. Symptoms affecting trees in the majority of the reports included:
- Browning and/or wilting leaves towards the ends of branches
- Twisting and curling of new tree growth
DuPont Imprelis symptoms appeared to be most severe around the year’s current growth area, such as the outside and top of the tree. In some cases, property owners lost their oldest and biggest trees, and were looking at thousands of dollars in replacement costs.
The reports prompted the EPA to launch an investigation of DuPont Imprelis, and the agency eventually found that DuPont knew of Imprelis’ potential to damage evergreen trees/ DuPont’s own test data showed that Imprelis was harmful to Norway spruce, balsam fir, and other trees. In August 2011, the EPA issued DuPont a “Stop Sale” notice, and ordered DuPont to halt the sale, use or distribution of DuPont Imprelis herbicide, prompting the Imprelis recall.
Since the DuPont Imprelis recall, property owners throughout the country have filed Dupont Imprelis lawsuits against DuPont seeking compensation for their dead and dying trees. Most DuPont Imprelis lawsuits have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania and assigned to Judge Gene E. K. Pratter (In re Imprelis Herbicide Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 2284).
[ http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/imprelis.html ]
[ http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/tree_damage_from_imprelis_one_year_later ]
[ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-29/business/ct-biz-0828-problem-tortorello-20120829_1_imprelis-spruce-and-white-pine-herbicide ]
[ www.ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL/pubs/briefs/ImprelisLCO.pdf ]
[ http://extension.psu.edu/greenindustry/news/2012/imprelis-damage-continues-in-2012 ]