By: Karen Graham
The EPA will begin analysing the impacts of Atrazine and Glyphosate, the two most-commonly used pesticides in the U.S., on 1,500 plant and animal species in the U.S. under the terms of a settlement reached today with the Center for Biological Diversity.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will also analyse the impacts of propazine and simazine, two pesticides very similar to Atrazine, committing to a completion of the assessments by 2020.
Today's announcement marks an historic agreement between the EPA and CBD on a proposed settlement that amended a 2010 court order establishing a schedule to complete impact assessments for 75 chemicals on 11 endangered species in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
The EPA had completed an analysis of 59 of the 75 pesticides, but it was agreed upon by the EPA and CBD that it would be more significant if a nationwide impact assessment was conducted on the four pesticides in question.
The first lawsuit, filed in 2007 by the CBD against the EPA, accused the agency of violating the Endangered Species Act by registering and allowing the use of a number of pesticides in 11 San Francisco Bay Area endangered species habitats without any assessment of the impact the chemicals might have on the existence of the endangered species..
As a result of that 2007 lawsuit, an injunction was issued by a federal court, putting restrictions on the use of 75 pesticides in eight Bay Area counties. This move allowed the EPA five years to complete an assessment on the potential harmful effects of the pesticides on 11 endangered species.
“This settlement is the first step to reining in the widespread use of dangerous pesticides that are harming both wildlife and people,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Atrazine, for instance, chemically castrates frogs even in tiny doses, is an endocrine disruptor, and likely causes birth defects in people. The EPA should have banned this years ago.”
Atrazine and Glyphosates some of the most commonly used herbicides in the world
Atrazine is mainly used on corn, sugarcane and sorghum crops in the U.S. but can also be used on golf courses and residential lawns. Almost 60 to 80 million tons of Atrazine are used annually in the U.S. alone. Highly soluble in water, atrazine, as well as propazine and simazine are in the triazine class of chemicals, which have been linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity in humans.
Atrazine is second in popularity only to Glyphosate in this country. Glyphosate is commonly associated with Monsanto's Roundup. Roundup is used on millions of acres of herbicide-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) crops in the U.S. The use of this chemical has eradicated milkweed, nearly destroying the Monarch butterfly population in North America. It has also been shown to negatively affect the environment, with numerous studies being reported.
Besides the many environmental impacts associated with the use of Roundup, and reported a number of times in Digital Journal, there are also human health concerns that need to be accessed more fully.
Digital Journal also reported that on March 20, 2015, Monsanto was stunned when the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that suggested glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company's signature herbicide, Roundup was “probably carcinogenic."
“This settlement will finally force the EPA to consider the impacts of glyphosate — widely known as Roundup — which is the most commonly used pesticide in the United States, on endangered species nationwide,” said Mr. Hartl. “With more than 300 million pounds of this stuff being dumped on our landscape each year, it’s hard to even fathom the damage it’s doing.”
Last year, the CBD entered into a nationwide settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that requires the agency to analyze the impact of five dangerous pesticides, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion, and methomyl, on endangered species across the country. These pesticides have been found to be toxic to endangered species and may pose a health risk to humans.
Originally Published: Digital Journal