The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a renewal for atrazine, a widely used herbicide for corn, sugarcane and sorghum, as well as broadleaf weeds in lawns and turf. The agency will also update requirements for the chemically similar propazine and simazine.
The chemical has been commonly found in waterways and drinking water. Thirty-five countries, including the European Union, are phasing the chemical out after research linked it to birth defects and cancer.
EPA officials said they would propose a lower use rate for residential turf applications, along with new protective equipment and handling requirements, and mandatory spray drift control measures.
The agency would also end an ongoing atrazine water-monitoring program.
Comments can be made to the following dockets EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0266 (atrazine), EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0250 (propazine), and EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0251 (simazine) once the Federal Register notice publishes online.
The move was hailed by corn growers, for which the chemical is considered among the most effective. The chemical is used on 75 million acres annually, a majority of which are corn.
“This product is tremendously important to farmers across the country, especially for weed control in conservation practices,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO and Triazine Network Chair Gary Marshall. “From citrus to sorghum and corn to Christmas trees, farmers rely on the agency’s use of credible science to regulate the products that allow us to safely grow more with less for a hungry global population.”