(Posted Thu. Jun 2nd, 2016)
Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its ecological risk assessment on the pesticide atrazine. The following is a statement from Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association.
“No one cares more about the safety of agricultural pesticides than farmers. Farmers make use of pesticides on their farms to ensure an abundant, affordable food supply of foods for consumers all over the world. We care about keeping land, rivers, and ponds safe for our families, our neighbors, and our communities.
“Atrazine is a safe and effective crop management tool for farmers. It is widely used because it is among the most reliable herbicides available, and it plays a critical role in combating the spread of resistant weeds. It reduces soil erosion, increases crop yields, and improves wildlife habits. Over the last 50 years, atrazine has passed some of the most rigorous safety testing in the world. More than 7,000 scientific studies have found atrazine to be safe.
“It is particularly concerning that EPA has chosen to base the ecological risk assessment for atrazine on studies their own Science Advisory Panel deemed ‘flawed’ just 4 years ago. This undermines public confidence in the review process and goes against the mission of using the best available science.
“Farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre, according to a 2012 study by the University of Chicago. That’s a cost many farmers cannot afford, and it would have ripple effects across the entire food and agriculture sector.
“In the coming weeks, we will be urging farmers and others who care about our rural economy to contact the EPA, and tell them to base their decision on sound science.”