EPA Draft Risk Assessment of Atrazine
Atrazine herbicide is currently under EPA registration review, which is required of all pesticides every 15 years to update and modernize the science and risk assessments. Atrazine is a widely used herbicide and has been effectively used for decades in controlling weeds, particularly among corn, sorghum and sugarcane acreage. Earlier this year, EPA issued a draft Ecological Assessment of the herbicide, which is a preliminary step in judging whether the chemical will continue to be available for agricultural producers. The notice may be found here. The draft assessment, if left unchallenged, would significantly impact continued availability of atrazine by jeopardizing its re-registration.
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the federal statute which regulates the availability of pesticides for farmers, producers have the ability to register their views in the pending EPA docket. It is particularly important for growers to note the importance of the herbicide to their operations, how it helps them in controlling weeds, increasing yield and, where possible, either saves farmers money or helps increase productivity. The docket is open until Oct. 4 and all comments received before then will be considered by the agency.
Atrazine is one of the most closely examined pesticides in the world. Its safety has been established in nearly 7,000 scientific studies over more than 50 years. It is an essential product for weed control and farming, with more than half of all U.S. corn acres, and two-thirds of U.S. sorghum and sugarcane acres, relying on this safe and essential herbicide to produce food sustainably.
It is important for Farm Bureau leaders to submit comments concerning EPA's registration review of atrazine. Comments must be submitted no later than October 4, 2016. To submit comments electronically, click here.
Talking points to consider:
- More than half of all U.S. corn acres, and two-thirds of our sorghum acreage rely on atrazine for safe and effective weed control.
- Atrazine increases crop yields and enables conservation tillage and no-till farming, helping soil health and keeping aquatic systems healthy by dramatically reducing soil runoff into rivers and streams.
- Atrazine is a crucial tool for weed resistance management.
- On June 2, 2016, EPA posted its draft ecological risk assessment, that drew conclusions based on a number of scientific errors and flawed interpretations that even EPA's own 2012 Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) deemed as flawed.
You can cut and paste comments direct to Regulations.gov by clicking this link. Producers are strongly recommended to personalize your comments to relate how the loss of the herbicide atrazine could affect your farming operation.