Atrazine, Fertilizer Targeted By President’s Cancer Panel

To no-tillers, atrazine, nitrogen and phosphate are indispensable for maximizing yields of corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops.

But the President’s Cancer Panel, which recently sent its report to President Obama, believes these products may cause cancer and other health problems.

“The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals,” the panel wrote in its report, “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk — What We Can Do Now.”

The report states that U.S. farmers apply about 80 million pounds of atrazine per year — more than any other agricultural pesticide.

“Some evidence suggests that eliminating its use would have little impact on usable crop levels,” the panel claims. “The EPA has faced considerable criticism from the media and environmental groups on its oversight of atrazine and the EPA’s 2003 renewal of atrazine’s classification as ‘not likely to cause cancer in humans.’”

The panel claims “nitrogen fertilizer may increase cancer risk due to the breakdown of nitrogen by digestive enzymes.” It also claims that phosphate fertilizers are “often contaminated with cadmium and are responsible for significant cadmium soil and water contamination.”

The Fertilizer Institute strongly disagrees with the panel’s claims about nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers.

“All major fertilizer products have been proven safe after rigorous human health and ecological toxicity testing,” the Institute says.


Syngenta received EPA registration for Callisto Xtra post-emergence herbicide, as well as from all major corn-producing states. Callisto Xtra provides better control of broadleaf weeds and faster burndown of weeds…

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