Atrazine is used world-wide. Other countries in addition to the United States are reviewing the safety of atrazine.
Seven EU countries in the European Union ("EU") have banned atrazine: France, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria and Italy. These countries have a policy of banning pesticides that occur in drinking water at levels higher than 0.1 parts per billion. Some of the EU countries that have not banned atrazine are the U.K., Ireland, Belgium and Luxemburg.
Under the EU Water Framework Directive, the European Commission (EC) is establishing a list of "priority hazardous substances" that must be eliminated from EU water according to specified schedules and requirements. Atrazine is one of the chemicals slated for a determination as to whether it should included on the "priority hazardous substances" list. This determination is scheduled for completion by the end of 2003.
The EU atrazine review will be conducted by a scientific committee attached to the European Commission. This scientific committee will include members of all the EU countries. The UK member is assigned to write the atrazine review report. The EU scientific committee review of atrazine will be determined by a qualified majority vote. France, Italy, Germany and the UK each have ten votes. Smaller countries have fewer votes.
CRE Position on EC Water Framework Direction Action on Atrazine
Review of atrazine's risks under the Water Framework Directive parallels EPA's atrazine review under the Clean Water Act, FIFRA and the FQPA. Good science knows no borders. Consequently, CRE believes that the results of both reviews should be consistent. Based on the best available science and data, there is no basis to banning atrazine anywhere.
Australia's National Registration Authority ("NRA") has reviewed the safety of atrazine for several years. In 1997, the NRA released a report that concluded theere were no major toxicological concerns relating to the use of atrazine and that atrazine poses no undue hazards to most users. The report noted a concern about atrazine's potential environmental risks. In 1997, the NRA modified its atrazine approvals in some respects.
In April 2002, the NRA issued another report on its atrazine review. This draft final report at page 13 recommended some label changes for atrazine in Australia. This Report concluded at page 14:
"Based on the outcomes of the initial review and subsequent assessment of the required supplementary information, the NRA is satisfied that conditions of registration and label approval for use of products in agricultural situations could be varied in such a way that the requirements for continued approval or registration will be complied with and that the continued use of products in agricultural situations meets the criteria for continued registration and label approval as prescribed by the Agvet Codes provided product labels are revised to include new label instructions."
The 2002 NRA Report also noted on page 12 that the French ban on atrazine "has been reported to have had serious economic and crop protection consequences, particularly for maize growers in France."