EPA says it will continue use of three weed killers

Atrazine application rates would be set at 2 pounds of active ingredient per acre under the EPA interim decision.

The EPA added precautions to the use and handling for the weed killers atrazine, simazine, and propazine in deciding the herbicides can remain in use in the United States. Atrazine is used primarily in agriculture to kill weeds in corn, sorghum, and sugarcane, but it also is used on golf courses and residential lawns.

“Today’s decision is another example of the Trump administration taking action in support of America’s farmers — one of our strongest allies in our mission to protect public health and the environment,” said EPA chief Andrew Wheeler, who announced the decision while meeting Missouri farmers on Friday. “The benefits of atrazine in agriculture are high, so these new protections give our nation’s farmers more clarity and certainty concerning proper use.”

The Center for Biological Diversity said the EPA’s “interim decision” on atrazine called for only a modest reduction in application rates on turf. “Had the correct standards been used, atrazine uses on lawns and turf would likely have been cancelled due to unacceptable harm to children,” it said. The EPA also would allow “50% more atrazine to end up in U.S. waterways,” said the nonprofit organization.

Atrazine application rates would be set at 2 pounds of active ingredient per acre under the EPA interim decision, compared with the current limit of 2.2 pounds. The EPA also would require applicators to wear additional protective equipment.

The EPA’s proposed interim decisions on atrazine, propazine, and simazine are available here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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