Imprelis response effort earns Purdue Ag's TEAM Award

April 17, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A group of Purdue University professionals whose investigation into consumer complaints of tree and plant damage led to a nationwide ban of the turf herbicide Imprelis will receive the 2013 Purdue Agriculture TEAM Award.

The award, whose name is an acronym for Together Everyone Achieves More, is presented annually to honor an outstanding interdisciplinary team of Purdue faculty and staff.

"When reports of damage to trees and ornamental plants first surfaced, the Purdue Imprelis Herbicide Injury Response Team came together quickly and developed a well-coordinated process to investigate, analyze, report and make recommendations to the industry, consumers and landowners," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. "This group, which represents many different programs in the College of Agriculture, is a terrific example of a high-performing team working together to solve a serious problem."

Lawn care companies, golf course managers and homeowners across the U.S. began using the new herbicide in the spring of 2011 and soon noticed damage to trees and ornamental plants adjacent to the treatment area. As the number of reports rose, the team was created to track and investigate consumers' complaints and to alert consumers.

The team received nearly 150 complaints of suspicious injuries to trees and plants in less than a month, sending field investigators from the Office of the Indiana State Chemist, based at Purdue, to review each complaint and collect information to determine whether the damage likely was from exposure to Imprelis. Within 54 days of the first damage report in Indiana, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in August 2011 used the team's data in requiring DuPont, maker of Imprelis, to stop selling and distributing  the herbicide nationwide.

The Office of Indiana State Chemist banned the sale, distribution and use of Imprelis in Indiana that September. The step Indiana took was necessary to prohibit others from selling and using it in the state.

In all, the team investigated about 400 complaints.

An award ceremony for the team will be held from 2-4 p.m. May 6 in Deans Auditorium of Pfendler Hall on the Purdue campus. The team will receive a commemorative plaque to be displayed in the agricultural administration building and a $10,000 cash prize.

In addition to the state chemist's office, team members were faculty and staff from the departments of agricultural communication, agronomy, botany and plant pathology, entomology, and horticulture and landscape architecture, and the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, based at Purdue. 

Writer: Jessica Merzdorf, 765-494-8402,

Source: Jay Akridge, 765-494-8391,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

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