Misleading Portrait of A Weedkiller

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Dec. 9 news story "High Weedkiller Levels Found in River Checks" may have left readers with a false understanding of atrazine.

For decades the Environmental Protection Agency has required extensive studies on atrazine. Since 2004, the EPA has had Syngenta, the chemical's manufacturer, study watersheds for the presence of atrazine. This study, unprecedented in its depth and breadth, showed no atrazine levels -- in Missouri or elsewhere -- that even approached the EPA's threshold for remediation.

The allegation that Syngenta is somehow hiding study data from scrutiny could not be further from the truth. It's true that the study contains confidential business information that Syngenta must protect. However, we will make it available to anyone who asks, on the simple condition that it not be disclosed to support competitors' programs.

Finally, the suggestion that "industry" influences regulatory agencies to lower standards of scrutiny on atrazine does not stand up to the facts. The U.S. regulatory system for agrochemicals is among the most stringent in the world, and atrazine is perhaps the most studied molecule in EPA history. Thousands of studies have shown no adverse effect on threatened species or their habitats and no health risk to consumers.

Your readers deserve the full story.

-- Sarah Hull


The writer is vice president for corporate communications and public affairs at Syngenta.

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