By Richard Keller, AgProfessional editor
A nonprofit organization "dedicated to amphibian conservation" along with brethren environmental activist groups organized a rally in Washington, D.C., Friday, April 29, to protest that atrazine herbicide can still be used in the U.S. The day was proclaimed to be "Save the Frogs Day."
The Save the Frogs nonprofit group blanketed media outlets around the country asking the media to "bring attention to the problems associated with atrazine, and lead to a federal ban on its use and production." The news release quoted Kerry Kriger, founder and executive director of Save the Frogs as saying, "Atrazine is the 21st century's DDT."
The news release blasted Syngenta for continuing to produce and sell atrazine. Every negative ever considered plausible about atrazine — most of them Syngenta has proven false — were listed as fact.
Scheduled to speak at the rally was Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, professor and researcher.
The sorry situation about such an event and the news release distribution is that there is non-agricultural media that printed and posted the Save the Frogs propaganda as fact without any investigation. And organic producer groups joined the condemnation of atrazine, even though it has been shown to be an appropriate product for labeled use in crop production.
The current Environmental Protection Agency review, which is highly unusual because it is occurring a very short time after the EPA had cleared the compound for continued use in crop production, is mainly because of such publicity stunts as this one organized by Save the Frogs, and the publicity generated by simply sending out a release that traverses the globe on the internet. It appears that the EPA has judged atrazine more harshly and in depth than most chemicals used in agriculture — or within American households — based on data and background information provided by Syngenta.