Archive for the ‘atrazine’ Category

Sustainably Feeding the World

By: DeEtta Bohling, Communications Specialist

How can we best feed the word? Alex Avery of the Hudson Institute talks about how to best protect the environment with regards to agriculture on a new episode of Green State TV.

New research shows that the best way to save the biodiversity of Mother Earth is to produce as much as you can on a given acre. Avery states that we need to use synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. Avery goes on to say that “if we had to do it organically, you’re talking about the equivalent manure of 6-8 billion additional cows on the Earth, which is five times more cows than exist on the plant today. When we are already pasturing and grazing 26% of the Earth’s total land area, 500% more cows is going to take up all that is left.”

Alex Avery also speaks about pesticides and herbicides which help growers produce more per acre in a sustainable manner. Today, growers are able to produce more with less soil erosion. Farmers have adopted conservation tillage on millions of acres of land – and continue to expand the use of no-till and minimal till practices. The benefits for the environment are significant. No-tilling means remnants from the previous year’s crop are left untouched. Not only does this improve the soil over time, but it significantly reduces soil run-off during snowmelt or heavy rain.  In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture noted that America’s corn farmers have cut soil erosion 44 percent in two decades by using these innovative conservation methods.

Kirk Wiscombe of Overbrook, KS plants corn

Avery gives credit to a popular herbicide, Atrazine which has been used by corn, sorghum, sugarcane and other produce growers since the 1950s.  Atrazine is the cornerstone of sustainable, low erosion, no-till farming which has revolutionized sustainability in agriculture. Conservation tillage is an option for more farmers today because of technological advances. Corn plants that are resistant to safer herbicides means controlling weeds in a no-till field is more efficient and less harmful to the land and people. Seed that resist insect damage mean fewer insecticides are needed to protect the crop, and that means fewer passes across the field. These technologies are made possible through biotechnology.

With advancements in technology, farmers can continue to produce more food with less soil erosion, less fertilizer, less acreage, less water and less fuel. America’s farmers have a moral obligation to care for Mother Earth and produce food for a growing population.

Additional Resources:

Corn Farmers Coalition

Biotechnol0gy

Conservation

Daily Californian Article on Tyrone Hayes Raises Questions on Frogs, Fibs and Scientific Method

11-15-10–Berkeley anti-atrazine research Tyrone Hayes was featured in today’s issue of The Daily Californian, the independent newspaper of the University of California-Berkeley. The article outlines Hayes’ research that claims atrazine in extremely small amounts, sterilizes and feminizes male frogs. It also documents Hayes’ ongoing fights with Syngenta Crop Protection, the main manufacturer of atrazine. Atrazine is a herbicide used on corn, sorghum, sugar cane and other crops.

In the article, Hayes strongly refuted claims that he has not shared data on his atrazine research with the Environmental Protection Agency. The article quotes one researcher who says Hayes’ research hasn’t been replicated, and another researcher who says that is irrelevant.

Reproducibility
Yale University professor David Skelly, a researcher who participated in two EPA panels that reviewed the results of atrazine studies, told the newspaper that his is not aware of anyone who has been able to replicate Hayes’ results. The concept of being able to replicate the results of research is called “reproducibility”.

But that’s not relevant, according to Gail Prins, physiology professor at University of Illinois at Chicago. She told the Daily Californian that it is not important that others have not been able to replicate Hayes’ study results. She said she trusts his methods. However, reproducibility is widely recognized as one of the main principles of the scientific method (unless Gail Prins trusts you).

Missing Data?
Syngenta toxicologist Tim Pastoor told the newspaper that Hayes’ results will not be considered reliable until he gives his raw data to EPA to evaluate. Hayes hasn’t done that. Hayes’ responded by saying that allegation is “blatantly false” and told the newspaper that he had allowed EPA into his laboratory in 2002.

In a June 18, 2010 article written by Alex Avery of the Center for Global Food Issues, titled “EPA Exposes Hayes–Again!” documents Hayes’ failure to provide proper data to EPA (information excerpted  below).

2005: Anne E. Lindsay, then-deputy director of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, gave Hayes a hard review in testimony before the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2005.  Lindsay said EPA had never seen the results from any independent investigator published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, or the raw data from Hayes’ additional experiments. Hayes’ responded to Lindsay’s remarks in a paper recently put out by anti-pesticide activist organization, PANNA, refuting Lindsay’s 2005 testimony by pointing to a 2002 letter from EPA’s Tom Steeger praising him for sharing raw data.

2010: Illinois State Representative Dave Winters asked EPA recently if the agency had received “a complete, transparent set of raw data which could be interpreted and analyzed by the EPA and used in generating a full evaluation of his work.”  Donald Brady, Director of the Environmental Fate and Effects Division replied:  “I regret that the EPA science staff in the Office of Pesticide Programs’ EFED could not properly account for the sample sizes and study design reportedly used by the Berkeley researchers.  As a result, we were unable to complete any independent analysis to support the study’s conclusions.”

Bottom Line
Dr. Hayes’ research can’t be replicated. He won’t share his data, even with EPA. He is a self-described anti-atrazine activist, bringing his objectivity into question. It is hard to ignore these facts when considering his claims against atrazine. Let’s hope EPA still believes in the scientific process.

(By Sue Schulte, Director of Communications, Kansas Corn Growers Association, Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association)
For more information visit: http://www.ksgrains.com or http://agsense.org

World Health Organization Shows Safety of Atrazine with New Standard

World Health Organization Shows Safety of Atrazine with New Standard
Growers support the WHO’s science based approach and sensible outcome

October 5, 2010–A recently released World Health Organization (WHO) document has recommended a drinking water standard of 100 parts per billion (ppb), up from the previous WHO standard of two parts per billion. The atrazine drinking water standard enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is three parts per billion. Jere White, Triazine Network chairman and executive director of the Kansas grain sorghum and corn growers associations said the recent World Health Organization’s recommendation reaffirms the safety of atrazine.

“While our EPA is in the middle of an unscheduled re-review of atrazine because of activist campaigns, the World Health Organization quietly relied on scientific evidence and found that atrazine is safe at levels up to 100 parts per billion,” White said. “Here in the U.S., activists, insisting that atrazine levels at or even below 3 parts per billion are dangerous, have led EPA and the American taxpayer on an expensive wild goose chase.”

Atrazine, a herbicide trusted by growers across America, was reregistered by EPA in 2006. The reregistration came 12 years after the beginning of EPA’s Special Review of atrazine and other triazine herbicides. In its reregistration of atrazine, EPA stated that “levels of atrazine that Americans are exposed to are below the levels that would potentially cause health effects.”  EPA announced a new set of Science Advisory Panels on atrazine October 2009 after a coordinated publicity and media campaign surrounding the release of a study by the activist group Natural Resources Defense Council. An EPA official stated Science Advisory Panels were being held in response to the activist campaign.

Some argue that EPA should follow the World Health Organization’s lead in setting less restrictive atrazine drinking water standards.

“EPA’s current drinking water standards for atrazine appear to be set at too severe a level,” said James Lamb, Ph.D., center director and principal scientist at Exponent, a scientific consulting firm. “These new findings from WHO suggest that the EPA should re-evaluate the current three parts per billion standard in order to bring it into line with the latest scientific data.”

The WHO summary and background document are available at the organization’s website, and will be included in the WHO 4th Edition of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. Atrazine drinking water standards in other countries are higher than that of the United States. Canada’s standard is 5 ppb, Australia is 40 ppb and the United Kingdom is 15 ppb.

“The U.S. EPA should follow the lead of the World Health Organization and continue to rely on sound science to evaluate atrazine,” White said. “Since the Special Review began in 1995, all that our growers have asked is for EPA to follow their own guidelines and base decisions on sound scientific evidence and not activist-generated politics.”

Losing atrazine would have economic, agronomic and environmental implications. Atrazine is mainly used as an additive with many of today’s newest weed control products. Not only does it provide economical weed control to growers, it also offers a different mode of action and is longer lasting. This helps in season-long weed control, and also helps growers fight herbicide resistance in weeds. Atrazine is also vital to growers who use conservation tillage practices. By reducing or eliminating the need for tilling the ground, farmers are able to dramatically reduce energy consumption and erosion and runoff, conserve soil moisture and enrich the soil. The loss of atrazine would force many growers to return to tillage to control weeds in their fields and reverse a trend that benefits all of us.

The Kansas Corn Growers Association and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association represent their members in legislative and regulatory issues. For more information, visit ksgrains.com. The Triazine Network, formed in 1995 at the beginning of EPA’s Special Review of the triazine herbicides, is a nationwide coalition of growers and grower groups concerned with regulatory actions surrounding the triazine herbicides including atrazine. For more information, visit agsense.org.

We’ve been served . . .

Kansas Growers Served with Subpoenas Over Atrazine
By Jere White, Executive Director,  Kansas Corn Growers Association; Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association

Warning, consider this as a read-only document. Downloading may implicate you as a key player in a Madison County, Illinois lawsuit…lol.

We must have spoken too loudly last week. On September 15, I gave comments supporting atrazine at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Atrazine Science Advisory Panel in Washington DC. Also on September 15, we posted a column critical of trial attorneys who are pursuing big payoffs in an atrazine lawsuit and the subpoenas they had served to corn growers and their organizations who have publicly supported atrazine. The column, titled “Lawyers Aim to Harass, Intimidate Growers in Atrazine Issue” can be found on our KSGrains blog  as well as on the AGSense website . The Madison (IL) Record also published the column. The next day, September 16, the trial attorneys requested that subpoenas be issued for the Kansas Corn Growers Association, Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association as well as a subpoena to me as an individual. The trial attorneys are involved in a case attempting to collect large payouts for communities who jumped on the lawsuit bandwagon even though their atrazine levels are well below the drinking water standards set and enforced by EPA.

The subpoenas ask for any and all records and communications relating to atrazine, Syngenta and its legacy companies, and more. There is no limit to the number of years from which we are required to gather these records. And there is no limit to what records are to be included. For example, I served on the Biotechnology Working Group with the National Corn Growers Association. We certainly had discussions about biotechnology products developed by Syngenta. In order to participate in those discussions, I signed a confidentiality agreement. Without such confidentiality, candid discussions about what traits are in the pipeline and how they can have an impact on growers would not take place. Yet  any records I have regarding these discussions would be covered by the subpoena, even though this information has nothing to do with atrazine. What kind of information do the trial attorneys hope to get from our office? How would that information help determining the merits of its lawsuit?

Perhaps the trial attorneys believe they can distract us by giving us the task of going through all the files we have accumulated over the years.  Or maybe this is simply a tactic to harass those of us who have chosen to stand up for atrazine and the farmers who rely on it to control weeds and grow their crops using more environmentally sustainable methods.

It appears that the trial attorneys are trying to prove a relationship between farmers and Syngenta, the primary maker of atrazine. Sure, there is a relationship. After all, we have an interest in the products they sell to growers, and they have an interest in selling products to growers. But is anyone questioning the alliance formed by the other side of this fight? The well-heeled, well-funded Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), trial attorney firms Korein-Tillery and Barron and Budd, big media outlets like the New York Times and the Huffington Post have all worked in concert to put atrazine on the front burner at EPA.

As a private, member funded association, we believe we have a constitutional right to have informal, off the record discussions between stakeholders, farmers, staff and others to help us arrive at decisions and policies formulated by our grower associations. Our group’s decisions on issues facing agriculture are certainly not secret. But to ask for records of every thought that went into those decisions is wrong. It would inhibit future discussions by instilling the fear that ideas shared informally could become public record even if those ideas didn’t make the final cut.

Be assured we won’t be intimidated by fat cat trial attorneys and their harassing subpoenas. We will continue to represent our growers’ interests in the atrazine issue.

Lawyers Aim to Harass, Intimidate Growers in Atrazine Issue

By Jere White, Executive Director, Kansas Corn Growers Association, Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association

Sometimes, individuals and groups decide to stand up for something. In the case of many crop producers and the associations that represent them, they have decided to stand up for atrazine. Atrazine is a vital herbicide that is under attack by environmentalists, activist researchers, activist media and slick trial attorneys. These well-financed groups worked together last summer to garner enough attention to spur an unscheduled re-review of atrazine by the Environmental Protection Agency.

While farmers use atrazine in smaller and smaller concentrations, it is still an important tool to control weeds, especially in environmentally friendly “conservation” farming practices.  For example, using no-till, an increasingly popular conservation farming practice, farmers leave the previous crop stubble on field and plant the next crop in that stubble. This practice reduces runoff and holds on to nutrients and other stuff that helps crop grow in the field. Atrazine’s ability to provide residual weed control makes no-till an option for many farmers. Without it, they’d better grease up the old plow. I read an apt quote on Twitter recently—“If EPA says bye-bye to atrazine, can we get cultivators rolling fast enough?”

Looking at the information above, it’s no wonder farmers and farm organizations are standing up for atrazine in a big way. It’s no wonder that they work with atrazine’s major manufacturer, Syngenta, to support this product.

But recently, many of those organizations have been served with subpoenas from big time trial attorney firms who are hoping to net millions of dollars in judgments from the state and federal court systems. These subpoenas require grower associations to turn over volumes of information to the courts regarding their growers, including all correspondence related to atrazine, Syngenta and even the Kansas Corn Growers Association.

The subpoenas come down to one thing, clear and simple: bullying. We can’t imagine what kind of useful information they hope to find by looking through membership records, leadership programs or who paid for the ice cream at a farmer’s meeting. But the threat of legal harassment might make an organization or an individual think twice about standing up for a product like atrazine.

Since the beginning of the Special Review of the triazine herbicides including atrazine in 1994, our growers have wanted one thing: a science-based outcome through EPA. Is throwing trial attorneys and frivolous subpoenas into the mix a game changer? Will farmers be intimidated and lose their will to support atrazine? The trial attorneys forgot one thing—farmers are uniquely independent. They stand up to wind, hail, drought, floods, pests and roller coaster markets on a regular basis. Slick attorneys are scary for sure, but we don’t scare that easily.

(Note: Jere White is Executive Director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association and is the Chairman of the Triazine Network, a nationwide coalition of growers and grower groups concerned with regulatory actions surrounding the triazine herbicides including atrazine.)

EPA Gives Stakeholders Little Time for Thoughtful Responses to Atrazine Panel Questions

Monday, August 30, 2010—Some folks will burn the midnight oil trying to write written responses to EPA’s charge questions for the agency’s September atrazine science advisory panel. The questions were released Friday and comments are due Tuesday.

We have to wonder if the Environmental Protection Agency is being open and transparent in its handling of the Science Advisory Panel (SAP) on Atrazine when it gives stakeholders two working days to respond to complex charge questions for its September 15-17 meetings.

As an interested party in the EPA’s series of atrazine SAPs, we have been waiting for the release of the charge questions which will fuel the discussion at the September panel. We received them on Friday. EPA would like written responses to the question by tomorrow—Tuesday. Looking at the technical questions, it would take a month of Tuesdays to formulate answers to the questions.

Before each SAP, EPA releases a set of charge questions that the public can respond to and submit comments. The September SAP’s topic is: “Reevaluation of the Human Health Effects of Atrazine: Review of Non-cancer Effects and Drinking Water Monitoring Frequency”. That is certainly a mouthful and as one can imagine, the questions are much more detailed.

EPA has presented six multiple part questions that fill nine pages. The technical nature of the questions is great. It is difficult to see how EPA expects to get quality comments on these questions even by September 15, let alone by tomorrow.

The Obama administration continues to talk about how it operates in an open and transparent manner. However, this shows just the opposite.

To regular citizens like us, EPA’s actions raise questions and suspicions. It seems like surely some researchers received these questions in advance. These are complex scientific questions. It is difficult to imagine how one would be able to write acceptable answers in two weeks, let alone two days.

It is true that the documentation states that one could submit written responses after the August 31 deadline, but from what we understand, the late responses would not be considered in discussions at the September Science Advisory Panel.

As we continue to participate in this process, we have to wonder if we are playing by the same rules as others who are involved. We wonder if EPA is playing by its own rules and guidelines. In an open and transparent administration, citizens should not have these concerns.

Why Profane Emails from Atrazine Scientist Tyrone Hayes Are Important

By Sue Schulte, KCGA/KGSPA Director of Communications

Syngenta, the primary maker of atrazine, recently filed a complaint with UC-Berkeley, citing years of profane and threatening emails from its anti-atrazine researcher Tyrone Hayes. The company released a 102-page document of the e-mails that Syngenta employees had received from Dr. Hayes. Nature, New York Times, Gawker, Washington Times, Science Now and others have reported on the complaint, but the articles mostly focus on the wild e-mails from Dr. Hayes. Today’s media gravitates toward sensationalism and Dr. Hayes’ emails certainly provide fodder for that type of reporting. On-line articles on the Hayes emails feature headlines nearly as sexually explicit as his emails.

Most of the environmental activists have simply shrugged off the 102 pages of often-explicit emails. They claim the complaint is simply a red herring to distract EPA as it continues through a series of atrazine science advisory panels that the agency initiated after an activist-driven media blitz that occurred about this time last year. They claim this is just a guy communicating the way he is comfortable with—you know, free speech and all that stuff.

We have known for years that Dr. Hayes was an activist scientist who actively campaigns against atrazine. He has an anti-atrazine website, goes on speaking tours; Houghton Mifflin published a children’s book about him. Thankfully, they did not include any of Dr. Hayes’ email prose—it wouldn’t be suitable for kids, (or most adults for that matter).

In 2006, EPA estimated that an atrazine ban would cost corn farmers $28 per acre. In today’s world, that number is surely higher. Couple that with the fact that atrazine is a necessity for many farmers who are using no-till practices that have numerous environmental benefits, and you can see the value of atrazine not only to farmers but also the environment. This is why farmers are actively involved in EPA’s latest re-re-review of atrazine.

At a glance, this flare-up seems to be more fluff than substance. So what if the guy blew off some steam in some e-mails, who hasn’t done that? But when we looked at the e-mails, we ignored the ones that talked about forced sexual acts and self adulation. We looked at the ones where he talked about his own scientific integrity.

After a toxicology meeting in early 2008 (SETAC), Hayes sent a Syngenta employee a rambling six-page “manifesto”. In it, Dr. Hayes says he doesn’t care about professionalism. He says he was invited to speak because he puts on a great show. The ellipses in the text were placed by Hayes. And IDGAF means, I don’t’ give a f***.

“IDGAF! Come on?????…do you think I care about propriety and professionalism? I do what I do, because it’s what I do…IDGAF!!! Look, my first SETAC, I rolled up 15 and 15!… autograph- signing, room-packing, rhyme-busting, *ss-whoopin… and toldem’ “please don’t ever invite me back” …I have used the “F-word” in my talks, have quoted DMX, Busta Rhymes, Tyra Banks, Marvin Gaye…I have jumped off stage, brandished emails…entitled my talks everything from “Opening up shop” (from DMX’s “Stop, drop, shuttem’ down, open up shop”) and “America’s Next Top Model” ….I pack the room, havem’ call out security, was the stimulus for the “Hayes clause” at registration, and have been invited back every year. That’s my house, Trick! Do I care what you, (deleted) and your *ss kissin’ H*’s think?

I’ve already been invited to the next one…guess people like being entertained.”

The New York Times said in its story on Dr. Hayes this week: “The Syngenta-Hayes battle is driven in no small part by Hayes’ unique willingness to wear two hats, those of outspoken atrazine critic and objective scientist.”

After reading the 102 pages of Tyrone Hayes’ emails, we can’t believe that is an accurate description of Dr. Hayes. We believe Dr. Hayes wears one hat—that of an outspoken atrazine critic.

EPA found his past amphibian research to be worthless. In 2005, Anne Lindsay, then a top official in EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs at EPA said: “EPA has taken an especially close look at the research conducted by Dr. Tyrone Hayes which reports that atrazine adversely affects sexual development in frogs, causing a mixture of sex organs in a single animal. EPA has concluded that the existing data are insufficient to demonstrate that atrazine causes such effects. The Agency’s conclusions are supported by the independent, expert peer review of the SAP (Science Advisory Panel).”

We hope the agency resists the urge to be entertained by Dr. Hayes, and simply uses the scientific process to evaluate his current research.

Self-proclaimed anti-atrazine activist researcher damages his already shaky cred with e-mails

Tyrone Hayes is an icon, at least according to Hayes. He is a University of California at Berkeley researcher whose research to ban atrazine is certainly prolific. In addition to several amphibian studies that he says prove atrazine turns male frogs into not-so-male frogs, Hayes also hosts an anti-atrazine website and has a busy speaking schedule. But Hayes has spent a lot of time on something else—writing bizarre and harassing emails to those on the other side of the atrazine argument.

Employees of Syngenta and others, including EPA staffers, have been receiving strange e-mails from Hayes for several years. Syngenta is the primary manufacturer of atrazine. The company recently filed an ethics complaint with UC Berkeley about Hayes’ communications. Syngenta says that Hayes has sent their employees emails that are “aggressive, unprofessional and insulting, but also salacious and lewd.” The emails are taunting, harassing and sexually explicit in nature,” according to the complaint.

Hayes certainly has sent a lot of emails to Syngenta employees. The company posted a collection of Hayes e-mails, and it is 102 pages in length. In fact, in one e-mail, Hayes says he hopes his emails and poems will be published.

After a toxicology meeting in early 2008, Hayes sent a Syngenta employee a rambling six-page “manifesto”.  Hayes says he doesn’t care about professionalism, but says he sure puts on a good show. Here is an excerpt. A couple of notes: The ellipses in the text were placed by Hayes. IDGAF means, “I don’t’ give a f***.”

“IDGAF! Come on?????…do you think I care about propriety and professionalism? I do what I do, because it’s what I do…IDGAF!!! Look, my first SETAC, I rolled up 15 and 15!… autograph- signing, room-packing, rhyme-busting, *ss-whoopin… and toldem’ “please don’t ever invite me back” …I have used the “F-word” in my talks, have quoted DMX, Busta Rhymes, Tyra Banks, Marvin Gaye…I have jumped off stage, brandished emails…entitled my talks everything from “Opening up shop” (from DMX’s “Stop, drop, shuttem’ down, open up shop”) and “America’s Next Top Model” ….I pack the room, havem’ call out security, was the stimulus for the “Hayes clause” at registration, and have been invited back every year. That’s my house, Trick! Do I care what you, (deleted) and your *ss kissin’ H*’s think?
I’ve already been invited to the next one…guess people like being entertained.”

Alex Avery, center for Global Food Issues, posted a good column on this, which we have posted on our website, http://agsense.org or visit the CGFI website at http://www.cgfi.org

 If you want to read Syngenta’s complaint to Berkeley, follow this link:
http://www.atrazine.com/Amphibians/Univ_of_CA-7-19-10.pdf

If you want to read all of Dr. Hayes’s emails, go to http://www.atrazine.com/Amphibians/Combined_Large_pdf-r-opt.pdf

For full coverage of the atrazine issue, visit http://agsense.org

Purdue says atrazine is simple, effective, inexpensive

By Sue Schulte, Kansas Corn Growers Association

Simple, effective and inexpensive. These are words used to describe atrazine in a Purdue University column published this week. Purdue weed scientist Bill Johnson offered some common sense advice to farmers who use atrazine or any herbicide.

Farming has a small profit margin and growers strive to control weeds and pests while maintaining profitability. Atrazine is a basic herbicide that controls broadleaf and grassy weeds, helping growers improve yields and keep their fields healthy. Johnson points out that atrazine saves farmers about $2 billion because of cost savings and yield increases. He also encourages growers to follow label directions and use best management practices to ensure that atrazine and other farm chemicals stay on the field.

Johnson explains atrazine’s simplicity and its wide application window, making it an effective base herbicide. Read Johnson’s article below.

Atrazine provides efficient, cost-effective weed control

American agriculture’s oldest and most well established herbicide, atrazine, is a component of an inexpensive and effective way to protect corn against many types of weeds, said Purdue University weed scientist Bill Johnson.

In Indiana, millions of pounds of atrazine are applied annually to corn and sorghum to control broadleaf and grassy weeds and it is the main ingredient in about 40 name-brand herbicides.

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the safety of atrazine for the third time since the early 1990s. In each of the two previous reviews the EPA ruled in atrazine’s favor, most recently in 2006 after considering 6,000 studies and 80,000 public comments.

Some ways farmers can ensure atrazine is applied as safely and effectively as possible are to follow all label instructions and know when and where to apply the herbicide.

“Farmers need to understand both the rate restrictions of atrazine for different soil types and the setbacks from water sources,” Johnson said. “Like any chemical, they shouldn’t apply atrazine right before a big rain in order to prevent runoff.”

Other safe-handling techniques include establishing 66-foot grass buffer strips along bodies of water and ditches to help filter out atrazine from water flowing across fields, switching to herbicides that are tank-mixed with atrazine to reduce the amount used, turn off sprayers when crossing grass waterways and choosing crops that don’t require the use of atrazine when planting near water sources.

Not only is atrazine inexpensive and easily obtainable because it is off patent, but corn farmers can apply the chemical as early as 30 days before planting to the time corn reaches 12 inches tall. Because it also can be used as a foundation herbicide, additional herbicides can be applied to control weeds atrazine does not.

Annually in the United States, atrazine saves farmers an estimated $2 billion by increasing crop yields and helping producers avoid other, more costly herbicides.

“There are a lot of herbicides labeled for corn, but only a select few control as many weeds at as low a cost as atrazine,” Johnson said. “Herbicides with more narrow spectrums drive up costs and eliminate the simplicity atrazine offers.”

Source : Purdue University
More atrazine information: www.agsense.org

Atrazine: What is the safety limit?

Courtesy of Nebraska Corn

Anything can be a hazard at the wrong level.

A cup of coffee is fine. An injection of caffeine (or massive consumption) can send you into a paranoid delusional fit (or death). Oxalic acid in spinach is harmless in an amount someone would normally eat. But if you chow down on 10-20 pounds at once, your liver (and you) could be toast.

But how can you learn what the risk is for caffeine or oxalic acid? Or for another compound like the herbicide atrazine? When is it safe and when is it unsafe? Read the rest of this article on the Nebraska Corn Kernels blog.

Data on atrazine test results in water is available from EPA.

Additional background on agriculture and atrazine is available at AgSense.org.

EPA Exposes Tyrone Hayes—Again! “Scientist” still has no science behind claims.

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