Syngenta Defends Atrazine

Last week’s CropLife eNews included a short report on an Illinois atrazine court case. This week, Syngenta Crop Protection — one of the defendants in the case and the largest U.S. maker of atrazine — provides the low-down from the agricultural perspective.

For starters, the atrazine manufacturers won a few points, too.

And the point they lost, to dismiss the case entirely? Not unusual, actually.

The Holiday Shores Sanitary District in Madison County, IL, filed a class action lawsuit in state court on July 2, 2004, against five manufacturers and one formulator of atrazine on its own behalf and on behalf of various community water systems in Illinois. The manufacturers are Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences LLC, Drexel Chemical Co., Makhteshim Agan Industries, Ltd., and Sipcam Agro USA. The formulator is United Agri Products (UAP), recently acquired by Agrium Inc.

Named as a co-defendant in each of the six identical suits is GROWMARK, Inc., a CropLife 100 retailer headquartered in Bloomington, IL.

While Madison County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Stack is allowing the case to proceed, motions to dismiss at such an early stage are rarely granted. That point was made during a conference call with Kurtis B. Reeg, president of Reeg & Nowogrocki, LLC of St. Louis, MO and Sherry Ford, head, external communications, crop protection for Syngenta Corp. Reeg is an outside counsel for Syngenta in this case.

The Aug. 28 CropLife eNews article quotes the opposing counsel’s press release statement that Madison County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Stack “allows the lawsuit to proceed after finding that the water providers had sufficient facts to show that the manufacturers had knowledge of the possible harm of the chemical.” This statement, says Reeg, “is absolutely incorrect. The judge made no such finding. The judge thought that they had stated enough to make their claim, so he is now going to let the case proceed.

“The only different posture in the case is that the judge DID dismiss, per our request, Holiday Shores’ request for a declaratory relief,” he says. “They wanted the judge to use his equitable powers to declare that atrazine was hazardous. Judge Stack ruled that was inappropriate.

“He also dismissed their claim for punitive damages,” Reeg adds. “He said that Holiday Shores had not followed the proper rules or timing to assert punitive damages.”

Judge Stack also dismissed GROWMARK from the case, but gave Holiday Shores the right to refile the case against GROWMARK and make whatever other changes they thought were appropriate, Reeg explains. The newest version of the lawsuit is due to the court this week.

Syngenta Crop Protection “will vigorously defend this matter,” says Reeg. Atrazine, which has been on the market 50 years and re-registered by EPA in 2006, is a commonly used herbicide in U.S. for crops such as corn. Ford notes that EPA estimates that atrazine saves corn farmers $28 per acre in herbicide costs and yield advantages. Data from USDA show that atrazine also is the most widely used corn herbicide in conservation tillage systems, which can reduce soil erosion by as much as 90 percent, protecting water from sediment, the number one pollutant of U.S. waterways.

The federal and Illinois state maximum contaminant level for atrazine in drinking water is 3 parts per billion (ppb) with a 1,000-fold safety factor built in. Holiday Shores’ drinking water has not exceeded that level since 1997, according to Reeg. “Holiday Shores is now claiming in court that it’s hazardous at levels as low as point one (.1) ppb,” he adds.

“We’re really interested in maintaining the stringent federal regulatory process that’s in place because it works,” Reeg says. “It’s science-based and we don’t think local courts should be supplanting their judgment for the years of work that the EPA scientists and their experts have done.”

Syngenta believes that by ignoring the established governmental safety standards for crop protection chemicals, this lawsuit, if successful, could penalize Illinois growers, who have used atrazine safely for 50 years to grow abundant, healthy, and profitable corn crops.

The lawsuit also has implications that go far beyond atrazine by setting a precedent which favors local litigation throughout the country that would render meaningless federal regulation standards for many products used by consumers, growers, and industry.

It is interesting to note that since this case was filed, EPA has again ruled that atrazine poses no harm to human health when used appropriately.

According to Syngenta’s Ford, “the key takeaway for retailers is that atrazine has been re-registered after an exhaustive scientific review by EPA and it will continue to be available to them.”

Visit www.atrazinefacts.com for more information.

Leave a Reply

Herbicides Stories
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
Winter Wheat
HerbicidesArysta Touts Burndown Herbicide For Brome Management In Wheat
June 4, 2014
Arysta LifeScience North America recommends PRE-PARE Burndown Herbicide for effective brome management in winter wheat. Read More
HerbicidesFall Herbicide Applications More Effectively Manage Resistant Italian Ryegrass
May 14, 2014
Field studies show that a fall application of certain herbicides before weed emergence, leads to more successful crop planting and weed control in spring. Read More
Waterhemp in soybean stubble
HerbicidesThe Weed Resistance Problem: A Matter Of Billions
April 1, 2014
Not only is the amount of money being spent to control these yield robbers high, but the toll it has taken on the human population is growing lager by the day. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More
ManagementRetail Week: Precision survey, a technology acquisition…
March 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sflilgoj discuss recent travel, the upcoming precision adoption survey, and an unusual sighting at a Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Launching TerraGrow Soil Inoculant
March 20, 2015
TerraGrow is a blend of beneficial bacterial and fungal spores and nutrients carefully designed to promote healthier soil and crops. Read More
Winter Wheat
AdjuvantsMax Systems Debuts New Adjuvant NanoRevolution 2.0
March 18, 2015
Added to a tank mix of glyphosate at the conservative rate of two to four ounces per acre, NanoRevolution 2.0 has proven effective in killing resistant weed species that had already had up to two applications of the leading glyphosate product. Read More
Photo credit: United Soybean Board/the Soybean Checkoff
Seed/BiotechAgnition Launches Microbial Catalyst Seed Treatment
March 18, 2015
Agnition it has launched Commence for Soybeans, a microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and a superior growth environment. Read More
4R Certified, Nutrient Stewardship Council,
StewardshipTyler Grain & Fertilizer Now 4R Certified
March 18, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Tyler Grain & Fertilizer Co. in Smithville, OH, has been added to Read More