EPA Issues Proposed Interim Decision on Atrazine

Dec. 18, 2019–EPA released the text of the proposed interim decision (PID) on atrazine as well as simazine and propazine. A 60-day comment period will begin when EPA publishes the PID to the Federal Register. In a related Dec. 18 news release that covered a variety of agriculture topics (hemp, atrazine and ethanol), EPA stated:

The second action EPA is taking today is to propose new, stronger protections to reduce exposure to atrazine — the next step in the registration review process required under FIFRA. Atrazine is a widely used herbicide that controls a variety of grasses and broadleaf weeds. It is well-known and trusted by growers as one of the most effective herbicides. Atrazine is used on about 75 million acres annually and is most often applied to corn, sorghum, and sugarcane. (Note: Atrazine is not one of the ten pesticides approved for hemp.)

As part of this action, the agency is proposing a reduction to the maximum application rate for atrazine used on residential turf, and other updates to the label requirements, including mandatory spray drift control measures. EPA’s proposed decision is based on the 2016 draft ecological risk assessment and the 2018 human health draft risk assessment for atrazine. EPA is also proposing updates to the requirements for propazine and simazine, which are chemically related to atrazine. EPA will be taking comment on the atrazine, propazine and simazine Proposed Interim Decisions for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Comments can be made to the following dockets EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0266 (atrazine), EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0250 (propazine), and EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0251 (simazine) once the Federal Register notice publishes online.

“We appreciate the EPA’s proposal to re-register atrazine,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO and Triazine Network Chair Gary Marshall. “This product is tremendously important to farmers across the country, especially for weed control in conservation practices. From citrus to sorghum and corn to Christmas trees, farmers rely on the agency’s use of credible science to regulate the products that allow us to safely grow more with less for a hungry global population.”

“National Sorghum Producers appreciates EPA applying sound science and moving forward with this key step in the reregistration process,” said National Sorghum Producers Chairman Dan Atkisson.

“The impact atrazine has in weed control and making no-till production possible is as vital today as it was over 50 years ago when the product was brought to market. For over 25 years Kentucky Corn Growers has worked to bring production stewardship education and assistance to Kentucky’s farmers encouraging the safe use of atrazine. We appreciate the years EPA has spent reviewing and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of atrazine,” said Kentucky Corn Growers Association Executive Director Laura Knoth.

Follow this link to read EPA’s preliminary interim decision.