In late October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a favorable re-registration for atrazine, which paves the way for its continued use by no-tillers. “This decision confirms what extensive scientific studies have shown — that atrazine meets the most stringent regulatory safety standards,’ says Mike Mack, president of Syngenta Crop Protection, an atrazine producer.
In discussing the amended interim re-registration decision, EPA officials restated earlier conclusions that identified atrazine as “not likely” to cause cancer in humans. They also outlined an innovative, first-of-its-kind program for monitoring atrazine levels and to evaluate the health of ecosystems in streams that are most vulnerable to runoff.
U.S. farmers have relied on atrazine for 45 years for cost-effective, broadleaf weed control in corn, grain sorghum and sugar cane. While it is the second most popular herbicide in the U.S., it is the most widely used herbicide in conservation tillage systems that include no-till. EPA plans to issue a tolerance reassessment and final re-registration decision for atrazine in 2005 or 2006 once the cumulative risks for all triazine herbicides are considered.
Back in September, the National Resources Defense Council filed a suit against EPA seeking to ban the use of atrazine. The suit claims that the governmental agency has ignored the potential harmful effects of atrazine on endangered fish, aquatic invertebrates, and terrestrial and aquatic plants.
Meanwhile, the European Union recently rejected registration of atrazine and its sister herbicide, simazine, despite a favorable scientific review. In Germany and Italy where these herbicides are not sold…