For most of the world, it almost goes without saying that 2020 has been long on bad news and short on the good. However, for one class of popular herbicides, there is some good news!
In mid-September, EPA announced a long-awaited interim decision regarding the re-registration of the triazines: Atrazine, propazine, and simazine. Following years of research and public comments from the agriculture community, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler declared these fundamental crop management tools “safe for continued use in controlling resilient weeds.” According to the Triazine Network, a coalition of agricultural organizations that advocates for science-based regulatory decisions, this interim decision is a major milestone.
“Today’s news provides much needed regulatory certainty for farmers during a time when few things are certain,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO Gary Marshall, who chairs the Triazine Network. “We appreciate today’s announcement from EPA Administrator Wheeler. We thank the agency on behalf of the farmers who rely on atrazine to fight problematic weeds and employ conservation tillage methods to reduce soil erosion and improve water and wildlife habitat.”
According to statistics, atrazine ranks second among widely used herbicides that help growers control weeds. They have been utilized for over 60 years and atrazine is the most researched herbicide in history, said the Triazine Network. “The EPA announcement concludes the registration review process where EPA is required to periodically re-evaluate existing pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act,” said the group. “The next step for the triazines is a draft biological evaluation required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which is expected to be published in this month.”
Approved for use 1958, atrazine has been extensively reviewed by EPA and others over the decades and across administrations. The final ESA assessment is slated to be released in 2021.