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.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Herbicides Stories

Herbicides2015 ASA Trials Demonstrate Valent Fierce XLT Herbicide’s Performance
February 2, 2016
Valent U.S.A. today announced that new Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide ranks in the top tier among growers for length of Read More
HerbicidesMonsanto Takes Legal Action To Prevent Flawed Listing Of Glyphosate Under California’s Prop 65
January 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. is taking legal action to prevent a flawed listing of the herbicide glyphosate under California’s Proposition 65 (Prop Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
HerbicidesREUTERS: Europe Food Safety Official Wades Into Glyphosate Safety Debate
January 14, 2016
The head of Europe’s food safety watchdog has written to a group of nearly 100 senior scientists strongly rejecting their Read More
Resicore herbicide
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Receives EPA Registration For Resicore Herbicide
January 11, 2016
The U.S. EPA has approved the registration of Resicore herbicide, which will be available to growers for the 2016 growing Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More
FertilizerPhosphorus: Is Band Or Broadcast Application The Better…
February 3, 2016
Is band or broadcast application the better method when it comes to phosphorus? The answer to this question depends mostly Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina Nearing Deal To Buy Syngenta For Record $43 B…
February 3, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. is nearing an agreement to buy Swiss pesticide-and-seeds-maker Syngenta AG for about 43.7 billion francs ($42.8 Read More
Herbicides2015 ASA Trials Demonstrate Valent Fierce XLT Herbicide…
February 2, 2016
Valent U.S.A. today announced that new Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide ranks in the top tier among growers for length of Read More
Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Potash storage at Growmark
FertilizerThe Phosphate And Potash Outlook For 2016
February 2, 2016
Like other commodities, prices of the leading plant nutrient products dropped sharply in 2015. At this writing, the price of Read More
Chesapeake Bay
StewardshipKeeping A Watch On Water Issues
February 2, 2016
During a down cycle in the market, it’s difficult to think about investing for the long term. For retail businesses, Read More
Young Corn Plants
FertilizerNutrient Considerations For Low Corn Prices
February 2, 2016
Corn prices are low and many producers are asking tough questions about their nutrient management programs. Here are some suggestions Read More