In a victory for makers of atrazine, plaintiffs dismiss multiple damages allegations against defendants

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 0 comments
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (Feb. 23, 2010) — Plaintiffs in the Madison County, Ill., case against the makers of the popular herbicide atrazine handed the manufacturers and Growmark a victory as they voluntarily dismissed multiple damages allegations from their lawsuit.

Today, before Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, plaintiffs dismissed even more allegations in direct response to the defendants’ motion to transfer the claims of the cities of Carlinville, Fairfield, Flora, Hillsboro, Litchfield, Matoon, and Mount Olive to their home counties.

Plaintiffs dismissed their entire claim based upon private nuisance, and all their claims for alleged damages to real estate and physical plants, for the use and enjoyment of real estate, for the reduction in value of real estate, for stigma damages associated with any real estate, and for any loss of commercial use of real estate.

The Madison County Circuit Court had previously stricken plaintiffs’ claims for declaratory and injunctive relief and punitive damages. Additionally, plaintiffs had previously withdrawn their claim for a remediation study and cleanup of their water supplies.

“The plaintiffs’ legal theories continue to be whittled down by the Court,” said Kurtis B. Reeg, counsel for Syngenta Crop Protection of Greensboro, N.C. “This is the fourth time plaintiffs have amended their lawsuit as they continue to try to cobble together a case,” Reeg continued. “If and when all the facts are heard, we believe the plaintiffs’ case will be dismissed.”

“Atrazine is a vital input for Illinois’ corn crop. Federal and state regulations are protective of human health and the environment, and the product continues to be an important crop protection tool for farmers in Illinois and across the country to produce safe, abundant and affordable food for the world. We will defend it against these baseless attacks on behalf of the growers, the consumers and those who benefit from the production of Illinois corn,” Reeg said.

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Water Quality Studies Show Atrazine Levels Meet Federal Standards

- None of the 122 community water systems monitored last year in 10 states where atrazine is used most exceeded the federal standards set for atrazine in drinking water or raw water
- The federal lifetime drinking water standard for atrazine is set at 3 parts-per-billion — a level containing a 1,000-fold safety factor
- The EPA concluded that the triazine herbicides - including atrazine - pose “no harm that would result to the U.S. population”

GREENSBORO, NC, August 26, 2009 MaiMai News — As a popular herbicide in more than 60 countries around the world, atrazine has been carefully studied for years. In 2008, none of the 122 community water systems monitored in 10 states where atrazine is used most exceeded the federal standards set for atrazine in drinking water or raw water.

“Atrazine can be occasionally detected in water at extraordinarily low concentrations (parts per billion ), but these low levels pose no threat to human health. A person could drink thousands of gallons of water containing 3 parts per billion atrazine every day for a lifetime, and still not be affected by atrazine,” said Tim Pastoor, Ph.D., principal scientist for Syngenta.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets very conservative standards for chemicals in drinking water that are protective of human health. In the case of atrazine, EPA adopted a federal lifetime drinking water standard for atrazine is set at 3 parts-per-billion (ppb) — a level containing a 1,000-fold safety factor.

In raw (unprocessed) water, atrazine concentrations also declined significantly between 1994 and 2006 at 103 frequently monitored sites. This is due in large part to the best management practices growers now use with waterways and buffer strips. These practices have done much to protect water quality over the last 15 years.

Syngenta continues to work closely with growers in many watershed projects and in other stewardship programs to ensure that atrazine is used according to EPA guidelines and best management practices.

Atrazine recently underwent a rigorous, up-to-date safety evaluation by the EPA and was re-registered for use in agriculture. In 2006, the EPA looked at all of the triazine herbicides together — atrazine, simazine and propazine — and determined they pose “no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other major identifiable subgroups of consumers.”

Tens of thousands of such tests continue to show that atrazine poses no dietary health risk to the general population or to children and infants. World-renowned institutions including the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute and EPA all have studied atrazine and found no health concerns when used as directed.

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Read the full press release here.

Are Studies Linking Atrazine to Birth Defects Junk Science?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1 comments
Are studies linking atrazine to birth defects Junk Science?

Listen to toxicologist Tim Pastoor: “All these studies have basic fundamental academic epidemiological flaws that render them less than useful. If you look at the birth defect uptick in infants that were conceived in that late spring and early summer months, it can be correlated with just about anything else that occurs with an uptick at that period of time—rainfall, tornadoes, lightening strikes. And, you see the same trend in both high-use and low use atrazine states.” Dr. Pastoor’s conclusion: “There are absolutely no statistical correlations between atrazine concentrations and birth defects.” 

Pastoor also said: “the same uptick in birth defects in spring months is seen throughout the United States, regardless of atrazine usage."

NCGA Testifies on Atrazine’s Importance

Thursday, February 4, 2010 0 comments
Feb. 3: NCGA Director of Public Policy Jessica Bennett testified Tuesday, Feb. 2 before an Environmental Protection Agency Scientific Advisory Panel on the importance of atrazine. The panel was convened in the wake of the agency’s announcement of a comprehensive review of health and ecological risks associated with the commonly used herbicide.

“For more than 50 years, more than half of all American corn growers have relied on atrazine to protect their crops from a variety of grass and broadleaf weeds,” Bennett said. “By EPA’s own estimate, atrazine saves corn farmers as much as $28 an acre in reduced herbicide costs and increased yields. For all these reasons, atrazine is not just a good product. It is a vital product.”

NCGA has previously testified on the thousands of existing studies that have been considered over the past decade by EPA in supporting the registration and safe use of atrazine in the United States. NCGA has also signed on to a letter that more than 150 agricultural organizations sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson outlining their concerns on the potential ban of atrazine.

“Atrazine not only supports corn production but also provides environmental benefits. Every farmer is, of necessity, a conservationist,” Bennett said. “We care deeply about our impact on the land and water and what we will leave behind for our children and grandchildren. That is why so many corn farmers are proud to rely on atrazine for no-till conservation agriculture on more than 44 million corn acres—a practice that is preventing soil erosion, protecting waterways and sequestering significant amounts of carbon dioxide across America.”

Click here for NCGA's testimony

Tim Pastoor: Atrazine is proven safe, despite critics' assertions

By Tim Pastoor | Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Winona (MN) Daily News

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture said last month that "atrazine regulations protect human health and the environment in Minnesota."

This finding, publicized in a department news release Jan. 15, reaffirms what we've known all along - the herbicide atrazine can be used safely by farmers in the U.S.

But here we go again. This month, two environmental activist groups escalated their attacks on Syngenta and atrazine in Minnesota, suggesting the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Min-nesota need to rethink atrazine.

These claims are baseless and wrong. The EPA just completed a 12-year evaluation of the corn herbicide atrazine in 2006 and concluded that it can be re-registered for use. The EPA's painstakingly detailed review of more than 6,000 scientific studies led it to state very clearly that atrazine poses "no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other ... consumers."

One would think such a thorough review with this much data and with so many qualified scientists examining each aspect of atrazine's safety would be enough. But not for the agenda-driven activist organizations that just don't like EPA's conclusions. Political pressure by these groups has pushed the EPA to announce yet another "comprehensive" re-evaluation of atrazine.

Been there, done that.

But we'll do it again. Even though atrazine has been through one of the most comprehensive reviews in EPA's history, Syngenta, as a science-based company, looks forward to bringing the same high-quality science into an open and transparent safety review of atrazine by the EPA in 2010.

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