ARA submits comments on atrazine for FIFRA SAP
Reduces Soil Erosion
The use of atrazine products has allowed American farmers to utilize more conservation tillage and no-till systems that help protect topsoil and reduce erosion. According to the Conservation Tillage Information Center, conservation tillage can reduce soil erosion by as much as 90 percent. It is estimated that 64 percent of atrazine used in corn allowed for no-till or conservation farming (Source – GfK Kynetec).
The environmental benefits of conservation tillage include:
• Improves soil and water quality by adding organic matter as crop residue decomposes; this creates an open soil structure that lets water in more easily, reducing runoff
• Conserves water by reducing evaporation at the soil surface
• Conserves energy due to fewer tractor trips across the field
• Reduces potential air pollution from dust and diesel emissions
• Crop residue provides food and cover for wildlife
Source: Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Over Fifty Years of Proven Safety
Atrazine has been on the market for over 50 years and is the most heavily studied and tested crop production product for safety with over 6,000 studies from around the world. Previous EPA officials and FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panels have found the herbicide “not likely to be carcinogenic.” These EPA findings are consistent with findings of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other government agencies such the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and Australia. In addition, recent findings from a U.S. Geological Survey entitled “Regression Models for Estimating Concentrations of Atrazine plus Deethylatrazine in Shallow Groundwater in Agricultural Areas of the United States” point out that even in untreated groundwater in agricultural areas where atrazine is used, if any residues occur at all the concentrations are low and would assure large safety margins in drinking water. In 2010, the WHO raised its recommended safe level of atrazine in drinking water from 2 parts per billion (ppb) to 100 ppb. EPA’s drinking water standard of 3 ppb is highly protective with a larger margin of safety, larger than even the WHO standard.
In determining whether to cancel or change a classification of a registered pesticide such as atrazine, the EPA needs to take into account the impact of the action proposed on production and prices of agricultural commodities, retail food prices, and otherwise on the agricultural economy. Atrazine is a cost-effective, reliable, and essential tool for no-till and conservation tillage systems as well as integrated pest management programs. It is also proven safe to humans and the environment and it is essential that the agricultural community continue to have it available.