About the author: Jere White is the Executive Director of the Kansas Corn Growers Association.
Robert James Bidinotto wrote an article this week on the spurious attacks on atrazine and highlighted the why consumers and farmers alike benefit from this herbicide. On behalf of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, I applaud Mr. Bidinotto on telling the story and history of the fear-mongering spread by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Mr. Bidinotto begins by recounting how NRDC essentially got the chemical growth agent alar, commonly used on apples, banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after employing a campaign with actress Meryl Streep which “claimed that alar ‘might’ eventually cause thousands of lifetime cancer cases due to apple consumption by preschoolers. It was later revealed by Bidinotto that NRDC’s “junk science” used experiments which gave lab mice doses of alar that were “so outrageously high that 80 percent of the animals were poisoned to death.”
NRDC is attempting the same fear-mongering tactics with atrazine now and has successfully convinced the EPA to review the chemical for safety just six years after it was re-registered by the same government agency. Bidinotto points to another one of NRDC’s “junk science” reports released last September, Atrazine: Poisoning the Well. The report declares “that the chemical was ‘linked’ to all sorts of ‘potential’ health problems and raising the specter of unsafe concentrations in ground water,” writes Bidinotto. This is despite the fact that the EPA already employs a safety margin that limits atrazine concentrations in drinking water to no more than three parts per billion, “more than one thousand times below the threshold of any health concerns.”
Mr. Bidinotto is right on target with what NRDC is attempting to do. We must not allow consumers and the EPA to fall victim this junk science. Atrazine has been safely and effectively used for more than 50 years and banning it would only serve to harm millions of farmers around the country who depend on atrazine. In fact, there are more than 6,000 studies documenting the safety of atrazine from not only the United States but international bodies including the World Health Organization. The NRDC wants you to believe that their study is the only one that matters; but how can the one claiming atrazine is not safe be right when thousands of other studies contradict this claim? I encourage you to get the message out that atrazine is an important part of American agriculture and is needed to help farmers survive.