Farm groups were in Washington this week to voice support for Atrazine before the third in a series of hearings being held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to re-review, what the groups call the critically-effective herbicide. In 2006, after an extensive 12-year review, EPA concluded that the triazine herbicides, including Atrazine, pose no harm to the general population, including women and infants. Then EPA convened yet another re-review.
Scientific bodies around the world have determined that Atrazine is safe to use, and extensive monitoring shows that levels in raw and finished water are steadily declining. Jere White, Chairman of the Triazine Network and director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, hopes that high standards of scientific objectivity that enabled the EPA to register Atrazine as safe in the past would continue to prevail at the agency.
Richard Fawcett of Fawcett Consulting emphasized the critical importance of Atrazine to farmers' bottom line. Analysis of data from two different decades starting in the 80s and in the 90s, showed a boost in yields. Average yield gains with Atrazine from 1986 to 2005 in university field trials were 5.7 bushels per acre compared to alternative herbicides. EPA itself has estimated that farming without Atrazine would cost corn growers $28 an acre in reduced yields and higher costs for less effective substitutes.