2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid—“2,4-D” to millions of farmers—is one of the most widely used broadleaf herbicides in the world. Its preparation from 2,4-dichlorophenol and chloroacetic acid was reported by R. Pokorny in 1941, and it was developed as a major herbicide during World War II. Recently, EPA, in response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban 2-4D, declared that its approved uses are safe.
Herbicides glyphosate and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid were Molecules of the Week on October 5, 2009, and August 12, 2012, respectively. In October 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a registration to Dow AgroSciences for Enlist Duo, a combination of these chemicals. But last month the EPA asked a federal court to rescind its approval on the basis that Dow may have understated its toxicity to nontarget plants. Dow believes that EPA’s concerns can be overcome before the start of the 2016 growing season.
The September 9, 2012, molecule was the kinase inhibitor bosutinib. It was notorious at the time because researchers were unwittingly performing studies on a compound labeled as bosutinib, which was in fact one of its isomers. Now Pfizer chemists have developed simple analytical methods that distinguish the drug from its isomers.
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