The EPA released a draft assessment Thursday on the safety of Atrazine; and, according to the agency, Atrazine products pose a significant risk to the environment and to birds, animals, and people. Atrazine is used on over 80% of Indiana corn and is one of the most effective weed control products producers have. Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, told HAT the loss of this product would be a major setback for producers, “Atrazine is a safe and effective crop management tool for farmers. It is widely used because it is among the most reliable herbicides available, and it plays a critical role in combating the spread of resistant weeds. It reduces soil erosion, increases crop yields, and improves wildlife habitats.”
He said the agency’s latest assessment does not rely on sound science. In fact, some of the studies sighted in this week’s assessment were discredited by the EPA just 4 years ago. Bowling says Atrazine has been proven safe, “Over the last 50 years, atrazine has passed some of the most rigorous safety testing in the world. More than 7,000 scientific studies have found atrazine to be safe.”
“We’re troubled the draft assessment discounted several rigorous, high-quality scientific studies and didn’t adhere to EPA’s own high standards,” said Marian Stypa, Ph.D., head, product development for Syngenta in North America. “The draft report erroneously and improperly estimated atrazine’s levels of concern for birds, fish, mammals, and aquatic communities that are not supported by science.” Triazine Network, a national coalition of farm organizations representing well over 30 agricultural crops in over 40 states, insists, if EPA continues to use the same false logic or endpoints as noted in the preliminary risk assessment, it could lead to a de facto ban on atrazine. “EPA’s flawed atrazine report is stomping science into the dirt and setting farmers up for significant economic hardship. We challenge this latest proposal and insist EPA abide by federal law that requires the agency to make determinations based on credible scientific evidence,” said Triazine Network Chairman Gary Marshall. Marshall is executive director of the Missouri Corn Growers Association. “Again and again, we must ask EPA to follow the law. A regulatory agency should not need to be reminded of that detail.”
Bowling added that the EPA seems bent on banning the product and urges producers to stand up and fight for their right to continue to use Atrazine, “In the coming weeks, we will be urging farmers and others who care about our rural economy to contact the EPA and to tell them to base their decision on sound science.” Bowling says NCGA is ready to take legal action against the EPA if necessary.