Draft Ecological Risk Assessment for Atrazine

In the June 6, 2016 Federal Register, EPA published a draft Ecological Risk Assessment for atrazine and related herbicides, simazine and propazine.  These risk assessments are part of EPA’s periodic review of the registration for pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  EPA reviews the pesticide registrations to ensure that they continue to satisfy the FIFRA standard for registration — that is, that atrazine, simazine, and propazine can still be used without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment.  These assessments do not directly impact the MCL for atrazine or simazine but they could affect the use of the chemicals if the registration is changed.  The health effects data generated as part of the assessment could be used in the Six Year Review under the SDWA.  Atrazine is one of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States.  Atrazine is mobile and persistent in the environment and can move into surface and ground water.  EPA’s draft Ecological Risk Assessment for atrazine found that there is potential chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates.  There are also risk concerns for mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and plant communities where atrazine is used.  The manufacturer has publicly objected to the risk characterization, challenging the conclusions and promoting data that show these herbicides are safe.  Opponents have used the draft assessments to renew calls for a ban on the production and use of atrazine.  The Risk Assessment is open for comment until August 5, 2016.  See the Federal Register notice for more information about providing comments.  See the specifics of the Ecological Risk Assessment for Attrazine here.