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Aussies Rap Frog Rapper–Tyrone Hayes’ Amphibian Studies Dismissed by Australian Government

In an informational piece posted on its website on May 31, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) said “atrazine is unlikely to have an adverse impact on frogs at existing levels of exposure” and pointed out their conclusions were consistent with findings by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. APVMA said that past and current research papers by University of California-Berkeley researcher Tyrone Hayes “do not provide enough evidence to justify reconsideration of current regulations.” (Hayes promotes his atrazine rap online and has an anti-atrazine website) Here is an excerpt from the APVMA report:

There is a body of research (first published after 2002), most closely associated with the work of Professor Tyrone Hayes, that suggests that atrazine disrupts sex differentiation and organogenesis in amphibians. This work was assessed by the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) at the request of the APVMA prior to finalisation of the atrazine review. The conclusion of the APVMA at that time, based on advice from DEWHA, was that atrazine is unlikely to have an adverse impact on frogs at existing levels of exposure. This advice was consistent with findings by the US EPA in 2007 (see below) that atrazine does not adversely effect amphibian gonadal development.

Most recently, in March 2010, Professor Hayes was the lead author on a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (external site) that argued that atrazine demasculinised frogs exposed to a single laboratory controlled, low dose of atrazine throughout all life stages (egg, tadpole and adult). The APVMA submitted this and a number of similar papers to DEWHA for assessment. DEWHA found that these papers do not provide sufficient evidence to justify a reconsideration of current regulations which are based on a very extensive dataset.

Australia has it right when it comes to atrazine, according to Jere White, Executive Director of the Kansas grain sorghum and corn growers associations, and chairman of the Triazine Network

“The APVMA rightly asserts that the frog studies submitted by Professor Hayes simply don’t make the grade as sound science,” White said. “The regulatory agency also correctly points out that, despite the claims of atrazine opponents, including Hayes, atrazine is not banned in the EU.”

Atrazine is not banned in European Union

Although media reports and activists have stated repeatedly that atrazine is banned in the European Union, APVMA correctly asserted that it is not. The APVMA report states:

It is frequently asserted that atrazine has been banned in the EU. This is an incorrect interpretation of the EC decision. Atrazine has not been assessed and de-registered because of a human health or environmental concern. It is not on any EU ‘banned list” and could theoretically be reregistered in the EU should the product registrant provide all the required data. Terbuthylazine, a herbicide very closely related to atrazine is registered in the EU.

“This is one of the best independent explanations of atrazine status in the EU that I have seen” White said. “The notion that the EU banned atrazine is erroneous, but it’s difficult to get people to accept it because so many claim that it is. It’s like the old adage, if you repeat a lie enough, people will begin to believe it.”

For the full report, visit:
http://www.apvma.gov.au/news_media/chemicals/atrazine.php#amphibians

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