The Environmental Protection Agency extended the comment period on the draft ecological risk assessment of atrazine, simazine and propazine from Aug. 5 to Oct. 4, 2016.
The comment period was extended in response to requests from stakeholders, who cited the difficulty of commenting during the growing season and the length, quantity and complexity of the risk assessments.
EPA released the draft ecological risk assessments for atrazine, propazine and simazine, which evaluate risks to animals and plants including amphibians, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plant communities and terrestrial plants on June 2. It was published in the Federal Register on June 6, triggering the first comment period.
Several commodity groups are calling on their members to comment.
“If the EPA continues to use the same false logic or endpoints as noted in the preliminary assessment, atrazine would be rendered useless in controlling weeds on 90% of the acres in the U.S. – effectively eliminating the product,” according to the National Sorghum Producers.
“Atrazine is a safe and effective crop management tool,” said National Corn Growers president Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer. “If EPA succeeds in taking away this option, it will be sending farming practices back decades – and hurt the environment in the process. As a farmer and a conservationist, I can’t let this go unanswered. That’s why I’m urging farmers to contact the EPA and make their voices heard.”
Studies suggest farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre.
As part of the assessment, EPA recommends reducing the aquatic life level of concern (LOC) from 10 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average, to 3.4 ppb. Scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life LOC at 25 ppb or greater.
The EPA must evaluate pesticides approved for use in the U.S. at least once every 15 years and this is the first evaluation of atrazine since 2003. – Civil Eats
The European Union banned atrazine in 2004, citing its potential to contaminate water. – Mother Jones