Time to speak out against atrazine restrictions coming to an end
The time to voice concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed atrazine limitations is up Oct. 4.
The agency recommended reducing the amount atrazine that can be used, which would eliminate the use of the herbicide by farmers. The EPA’s concerns stem from research that showed chemical’s effect on the hormones of different animals, including frogs, and traces of atrazine in drinking water above the safe level.
The proposed change will prevent farmers from using the herbicide to prevent and kill weeds in their crops. Atrazine is used, largely, in corn, sorghum and sugar cane fields, but is also used for wheat. Many producers and representative bodies in the ag industry have spoken against the EPA’s recommendation, pointing to a number of other studies that concluded atrazine is safe to use.
The European Union and Switzerland banned the substance due to groundwater contamination and potential links to cancer — a similar reason the EPA has its sights on the heightened restrictions. Some of the results that were cause for concern, through its own study, and a literature review were the levels of atrazine in groundwater due to runoff.
Some of the research the EPA’s report alluded to were results from previous research that concluded atrazine is harmful to different types of life.
One example of a potential risk the EPA noted in its review was a change in tadpoles. The EPA reported male tadpoles could become female after exposure to atrazine. There are potential links to cancers in humans, as well.
But other studies have contradicted the EPA’s findings, and many farmers and farming agencies have spoken against the EPA’s release.
“It has been proven safe by over 7,000 scientific states, including EPA’s own scientific advisory panel,” said Larry Mussack, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, according to the Nebraska Radio Network. “We cannot allow EPA to move forward. The science does not support their proposal, and as an industry, we cannot allow a bad precedent to be set.”
At the Colorado Corn district meeting in August, executive director, Mark Sponsler, spoke out against the proposed restriction by the EPA, and encouraged the board and producers to speak out against the regulation.
According to multiple sources, atrazine is one of the most common products used to fight weeds among crops, and if the proposed restrictions were to go into effect, it could cost farmers $30-60 more per acre.
This isn’t the first time the EPA has proposed restrictions against the use of atrazine, but the approved restrictions didn’t prevent the use on crops. ❖