EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced on Friday interim mitigation measures for atrazine and two related herbicides, propazine and simazine, during an agriculture event in Missouri.
Atrazine is widely used in agriculture across a range of crops, primarily corn but also sugarcane and sorghum, as well as a smaller amount of use in landscape care.
Specific mitigation measures were outlined in an EPA news release that coincided with Wheeler’s public announcement. The new measures are designed to address potential human health and ecological risks.
The agency will require a reduction of the maximum application rate for atrazine and simazine when used on residential turf in order to protect children who crawl or play on treated grass.
EPA added a requirement for irrigation immediately after simazine application to residential turf and required additional personal protective equipment for workers who apply atrazine and simazine.
The agency is finalizing label requirements for all three triazines to include mandatory spray drift control measures, to minimize pesticide drift into non-target areas including water bodies, as well as updating label directions to reduce weed resistance to atrazine.
As part of its routine re-registration review of atrazine, EPA has been releasing draft ecological and human health risk assessments for public comment.
New label language will prohibit spraying during a temperature inversion, set a 15-mph wind speed restriction for aerial and ground applications, as well as add specific boom and nozzle requirements.
The EPA also proposed ending one of two ongoing atrazine water-monitoring programs started in 2004.
Environmental groups have lobbied for atrazine to be banned entirely, based on concerns about human health risks and environmental problems, particularly concerning water quality.
Wheeler announced the measures at an agriculture roundtable in Springfield, Missouri, that included farmers and state and federal lawmakers.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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