Scientific Panel Takes Another Look At Atrazine

Message to EPA Panel: Get the Science Right

Aug. 24, 2023–Growers took time away from their farms to testify in late August before an Environmental Protection Agency Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) about the importance of atrazine. The purpose of the three-day virtual meeting was to provide independent scientific feedback on EPA’s draft white paper, Examination of the Microcosm/Mesocosm Studies for Evaluating the Effects of Atrazine on Aquatic Plant Communities, submitted to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) SAP for peer review.

Several grower groups worked closely with the Triazine Network and industry partners to advocate for taking a close look at questionable studies behind EPA’s dramatic shifts in the 2022 “Proposed Revisions to the Atrazine Interim Registration Review Decision.” Growers from Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Michigan, as well as industry representatives from the National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation provided testimony to the SAP. Leaders from the Triazine Network, a diverse coalition of more than 40 state and national agricultural groups actively involved in atrazine regulatory actions presented with scientific comments. The Triazine Network and growers testified in support of EPA’s white paper, which recommended excluding some low quality studies that had driven the atrazine level of concern to an extremely low level that would basically ban atrazine growers of corn, grain sorghum and other crops that rely on the herbicide.

“Overall, the tone of the SAP was positive,” Triazine Network Co-Chair Greg Krissek said. “In its white paper, EPA had recommended that poor quality studies be excluded, and we agreed with that position. However, even after the SAP makes its final determinations, we will remain engaged and closely watch EPA’s actions as it moves forward with decisions on atrazine.”

When the atrazine comment period closed last October, more than 16,000 farmers and agricultural organizations representing corn, sorghum, citrus, sugar cane, and other crops across the country united against EPA’s flawed proposed revision, calling for the agency to base decisions on credible scientific evidence. During the SAP, speakers shared real-world implications of EPA’s actions on today’s sustainable farming practices.

EPA expects to receive the SAP’s recommendations in late November. According to an EPA official advising the SAP, the agency will consider the panel’s suggestions in recalculating the proposed revisions before moving into a court-ordered review required under the Endangered Species Act.