Lead Editor


Dicamba is a benzoic acid herbicide. It was registered with the EPA in 1967 (#NPIC). Dicamba mimics the plant hormone auxin, causing uncontrolled growth which eventually kills plants. It is meant for post-emergent plant control (#EPA).

Dicamba is frequently formulated with other active herbicides such as 2,4-D, MCPP, and MCPA (#NPIC).

Dicamba may be sold under names such as Banfel, Banvel, Banvel CST, Banvel D, Banvel XG, Dianat, Dicazin, Fallowmaster, Mediben, Metambane, Tracker, and Trooper (#EXTOXNET).

Chemical Description

Dicamba belongs to the benzoic chemical family. It is a white to brown crystalline solid. It is soluble in water (#NPIC), and it boils at 200°C (#NIOSH). Dicamba bonds with soil poorly. The half-life of dicamba in soil ranges from one to six weeks (#USDA).

Dicamba has a variety of acid and salt formulations. It is commercially available in liquids, liquid concentrates, wettable powders, granules, water dispersible granules, and sprays (#EPA).


Dicamba is used in the control of broadleaf plants, brush, and vines (#USDA). It is registered for use on asparagus, barley, corn, oats, millet, rye, sorghum, soybeans, sugarcane, and wheat. It is also used on pasture or rangeland grass, right-of-way areas, and golf courses. Residentially, it can be found in some lawn care products (#EPA).

Human Health Effects

In oral, dermal, and inhaled routes of exposure, dicamba has a low acute toxicity (#NPIC). Dicamba may have irritating or corrosive effects on the skin and eyes (#NPIC). The EPA has identified dicamba as a developmental toxin in the Toxics Release Inventory (#PANNA).

Exposing the skin and eyes to dicamba can cause redness, pain, and blurred vision. The inhalation of dicamba may cause coughing, labored breathing, vomiting, and weakness (#PANNA). Nausea and convulsions may also result from ingestion (#NIOSH).

Environmental Health Effects

Dicamba mimics auxin, a natural plant hormone, and causes uncontrolled cell division and growth. The plant dies as a result of damage to the vascular tissue (#EPA). With proper application, dicamba will not harm grasses. It is moderately toxic to some cacti species (#USDA). Dicamba has a low affinity for most soil types and is highly mobile (#USDA). Because of this, it has been detected in groundwater (#NPIC).

Dicamba has a low toxicity to mammals. The oral LD50 in rats is greater than 2740 mg/kg (#EPA). It also has a low toxicity to fish and bees. The oral LD50 for bees ranges from 3.6 μg/bee to greater than 10 μg/bee (#NPIC), and the LD50 in rainbow trout is 135 mg/L (#EXTOXNET). Dicamba salts are practically non-toxic to birds, although dicamba acids can be moderately toxic (#EPA).

Neurological effects have been observed on rats, dogs, and hens given doses of dicamba. It is believed to affect the function of a significant enzyme (#USDA).


Dicamba is registered for general use (#USDA). There are more than 400 products with dicamba (#EPA).

Precautionary Notes

Dicamba can be highly mobile in soil and can easily contaminate water. Take care not to harm desirable plants and be very cautious near water sources. Dispose of dicamba properly.


Environmental Protection Agency. Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Dicamba. (June 2006). http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/turf/pdf/Dicamba_RED.pdf [Accessed 7-18-10].

Extension Toxicology Network. Dicamba. (1996). http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/dicamba.htm [Accessed 7-18-10].

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Dicamba. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng0139.html [Accessed 7-18-10].

National Pesticide Information Center. Dicamba.http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/dicamba_tech.pdf [Accessed 7-18-10].

Pesticide Action Network North America. Dicamba. http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC32871 [Accessed 7-18-10].

United States Department of Agriculture: Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region. Dicamba Herbicide Information Profile. http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/nr/fid/pubsweb/dicamba_99.pdf [Accessed 7-18-10].

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