Comments submitted to the EPA Docket on Proposed Atrazine Ban
The deadline has passed for submitting comments to EPA on a “Save the Frogs!” petition to ban atrazine. EPA had posted the petition for public comment, consistent with its goal to be open and transparent in scientific and regulatory processes. However, none of the information in the Save the Frogs petition justifies a change in EPA’s 2010 conclusion, nor does it prove a need for additional regulatory action.
No information submitted in the Save the Frogs’ petition justifies a change in regulatory action.
What EPA Says:
In 20007, EPA concluded: “atrazine does not adversely affect amphibian gonadal development based on a review of laboratory and field studies, including studies submitted by the registrant and studies published in the scientific literature.”
In its April 2010 update, EPA stated: EPA believes that no additional testing is warranted to address this issue.
What Science Says:
Despite more than 50 years of atrazine use, scientists have not found credible evidence of an impact of atrazine on a single animal species in the field, let alone a human population.
Over the past 20 years, deformities and declines in frog populations have been scientifically linked to causes such as natural fungal disease, non-native fish, natural parasites and habitat destruction, but never to atrazine.
Subsequent to the 2007 review by EPA, several publications from independent laboratories, using 5 five additional species of amphibians, indicate no effects by atrazine on amphibians. These publications were omitted from the Save the Frogs’ petition.
The Australian government conducted a review of Dr. Tyrone Hayes’ March 2010 publication, cited in the Save the Frogs petition, and determined that it does not warrant a reconsideration of atrazine’s regulatory status.
Based on EPA guidance, two large-scale studies (Kloas, 2007) were conducted in separate laboratories using 3,200 frogs and 100,000 tissue samples to determine whether or not atrazine has an impact on growth, development, survival, or sexual differentiation in frogs. EPA audited and inspected the data from these studies, stating: “The data are sufficiently robust to outweigh previous efforts to study the potential effects of atrazine on amphibian gonadal development” and “there is no compelling reason to pursue additional testing.”
In an April 2008 story in The New York Times, Yale University scientist Dr. David Skelly found fewer hermaphroditic frogs in agricultural areas where atrazine is used than in suburban areas where it is less likely to be found, saying, “What we found in most of the agricultural ponds we sampled was no evidence of reproductive deformity.”
What the Frogs Say:
The native northern leopard frog continues to thrive in areas where atrazine is heavily used, including in irrigation ditches next to U.S. Midwest corn fields.
Atrazine products are critical modern agricultural tools that support land and water conservation, helping to maintain habitats for frogs and other wildlife.
What the World Says:
Atrazine passes the most stringent, up-to-date safety requirements in the world.
Atrazine has been found safe at levels found in the environment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority have concluded atrazine is safe at levels found in the environment.
The World Health Organization also favorably reviewed atrazine (2007, 2010).