Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall submitted comments last week to the Environmental Protection Agency opposing EPA’s proposal to ban the herbicide atrazine. Duvall defending the use of atrazine and asked the EPA that its used be allowed to continue.
EPA is re-evaluating atrazine again thanks to a petition from “Save the Frogs,” which petitioned EPA in May to ban the use of the popular herbicide. Atrazine has been widely used in the United States for more than 50 years. However, “Save the Frogs” believes atrazine is harmful and it claims it is the reason behind the disfigurement and genetic anomalies being found in frogs. The group focuses mainly on getting atrazine banned, but it is not a fan of many commonly used pesticides, stating that few agro-chemicals are tested on amphibians.
"We do not believe the 'Save the Frogs' petition warrants additional regulatory action regarding the use of atrazine," Duvall wrote. "The product is important from an agronomic and economic point of view, and there is no credible evidence that it poses any risk to human health or the environment."
In the GFB comments, Duvall pointed out that the EPA conducted a study of atrazine in 2007 and concluded that the chemical does not adversely affect frogs or other amphibians. That study was updated in 2010, at which time the EPA said no additional testing was necessary.
Duvall and others are very concerned over the loss of atrazine in their toolbox of methods to control weeds considering the increased levels of weeds that developing resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides.
Duvall noted that atrazine has been the subject of comprehensive study since it was introduced and in every case has been deemed safe for use.
Further, atrazine and related herbicides will have a $20 billion nationwide economic impact over the next five years. Atrazine increases corn production, decreases production costs and allows greater control of soil erosion.