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EPA finds class of herbicides meets safety standards

Two of the most proven Syngenta herbicides, atrazine and simazine, reached a major regulatory milestone recently when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that the cumulative risks associated with triazine herbicides pose “no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other consumers.”

EPA made the statement as it completed the cumulative risk assessment of the herbicides, stating that tolerances have been found to meet the safety standards established by the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA). This reconfirms the favorable results of an EPA safety review on atrazine published in 2003.

“This decision marks the defining moment in a process that improved risk assessment methodology and testing for all pesticides,” said Valdemar Fischer, president of North American operations for Syngenta Crop Protection. “Just as importantly, this action also enables farmers to continue using two of the most important and effective herbicides on the market today.”

The decision brings EPA's Triazine Special Review near a close, a process that began in late 1994. Since then, hundreds of studies were conducted and reviewed by EPA, allowing the triazines to become one of the first major groups of pesticides to be re-registered under what EPA calls a “pilot process to facilitate greater public involvement” during re-registration under FQPA. This process also paved the way for innovative mitigation and stewardship requirements, including site-specific management.

With the completion of the cumulative risk assessment, EPA considers the safety reviews of atrazine and simazine to be final. A 60-day public comment period on the assessment ends Aug. 21.

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