Syngenta has issued a statement in response to recent information sent out by attorney Steve Tillery, whose firm filed a complaint in 2004 against six manufacturers of atrazine on behalf of Holiday Shores Sanitary District in Illinois.

"Syngenta believes this suit has no merit and is vigorously defending against it. Atrazine has been used safely by farmers for 50 years. US EPA and Illinois EPA have already set a standard for atrazine in drinking water of 3 ppb-a level which carries a 1000-fold safety factor. The determination as to what constitutes a safe level of atrazine in drinking water is a matter best left to the expertise of the US EPA and the Illinois EPA.

"Atrazine not only works better than most other herbicides, but it stands up to the most stringent safety tests and regulatory standards in the world-those of the US EPA. In 2006, after a 12-year review, EPA re-registered atrazine.

"EPA categorizes atrazine as 'not likely' to cause cancer -- the most favorable classification. This conclusion was upheld in the recent Agricultural Health Study of farm workers in Iowa and North Carolina conducted by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Health, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science and EPA. No links were found between atrazine and breast, prostate or other cancers.

"The World Health Organization, along with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, also concluded (September 2007) that atrazine is not likely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.

"Today, atrazine is used in more than 60 countries around the world ─ in Africa, North and South America, Asia and the Middle East. No country has ever discontinued the use of atrazine based on health effects.

"Even though countries in the European Union do not use atrazine, the product received a favorable safety review there: 'It is expected that the use of atrazine, consistent with good plant protection practice, will not have any harmful effects on human or animal health or any unacceptable effects on the environment.'

"Instead, EU countries use a triazine herbicide similar to atrazine and has nearly the same safety profile, called terbuthylazine.

"The European Union's decision not to use atrazine was not science-based, but directed by a groundwater limit for all pesticides of 0.1 part per billion (ppb), regardless of toxicity.

"In fact, the EU had recommended a health-based drinking water standard for atrazine that was 150 times higher than the 0.1 ppb arbitrary drinking water limit and five times higher than the US federal limit of 3 ppb atrazine."

SOURCE: Sherry Duvall Ford, APR
Head, External Communications, Crop Protection,
Syngenta Corp.