By Carrie Muehling
KANSAS CITY – Atrazine has been available to farmers for more than 50 years and is scheduled for re-registration by the Environmental Protection Agency again in 2013.
The most recent registration for the product came in 2006. During the process, the EPA and other regulatory agencies look at a vast amount of information that is available about atrazine and then make a judgment about whether or not it can be used safely.
“That judgment by the United States EPA, the United Kingdom, the Australian government and the World Health Organization has affirmed that atrazine is a product that can be registered and available for farmers,” said Tim Pastoor, principle scientist with atrazine developer Syngenta.
Atrazine is the second most widely used product of its kind by American farmers. In some cases, however, it has also become a target of criticism. A Hollywood style movie made about water resources included a small segment about atrazine, which Pastoor said included incorrect information. In response, Syngenta developed three six-minute YouTube videos about environmental benefits of atrazine, the safety of atrazine, and why it has been so important to American agriculture.
Pastoor also addressed the idea of atrazine adversely affecting the sexual development of frogs. Syngenta developed an extensive study on frogs for the EPA in 2003 including 3,000 frogs in two laboratories on two continents. Definitive results showed that atrazine has no effect on the sexual development on frogs. The EPA, World Health Organization and others have since made the conclusion that atrazine does not adversely affect frogs.
Pastoor expects the re-registration of atrazine, which is found in 155 different products, in 2013.
“We’re confident that this product will go forward and be available to farmers as it has been in the last 50 years,” said Pastoor.
A recent economic analysis showed that without atrazine, it would cost farmers $28 to $38 more per acre in alternative products and lost productivity.
Pastoor participated in Trade Talk during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City in November.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at email@example.com.