This summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft report on atrazine based on flawed science. If finalized, this report could result in a de facto ban on the herbicide and have a lasting negative impact on Michigan farmers.
Atrazine is a popular herbicide for weed control is used to grow the vast majority of corn, sorghum and sugarcane in the United States.
Nearly 7000 different studies conducted during its 55-year history have reaffirmed that when used according to the label, atrazine is safe for humans and for the environment. In addition, the EPA’s own Science Advisory Panels, which include experts in toxicology, human health and plant physiology, have verified that atrazine is safe from a human health standpoint and from an ecological standpoint.
Unfortunately, the EPA has chosen to ignore the science. EPA’s proposed level for atrazine application would make the product useless for controlling weeds in our corn crops. And it would increase herbicide resistance in weeds by forcing farmers to rely on a smaller toolbox of weed control options.
Banning atrazine would also be costly. The alternative options are estimated to cost around $30 more per acre, which will push many farmers out of profitability.
Not only would this be a major economic setback for farmers, but it would deal a serious blow to conservation efforts because atrazine provides long-acting weed control that allows farmers to use no-till or conservation tillage practices. Banning atrazine would mean more soil erosion and fossil fuel use.
This decision isn’t just about atrazine. It’s about the dangerous precedent that EPA would be setting for the future of agriculture. This report is another example in a growing list of examples when EPA has ignored sound science in favor of caving to activist agendas. If EPA uses junk science to prevent atrazine from being reregistered, no herbicide will be able to meet this new threshold.
The good news is that these recommendations are not final. EPA is accepting public comments until October 4 and it is imperative that every grower submit their comments. You can submit comments online by visiting www.micorn.org.