Watersheds Under EPA Scrutiny

Environmental Issues

The EPA’s revised Interim Registration Eligibility Decision document for atrazine, which calls for future monitoring of the pesticide in 40 watersheds over the next two years, is available for review and for public comment at www.epa.gov.
EPA’s atrazine decision was applauded by industry groups but derided by environmental groups. It largely rejected far-reaching restrictions in the popular herbicide, which has been linked to a heightened risk of cancer in humans and may act as an endocrine disrupter.
Under the registration decision, the EPA would require monitoring of 20 watersheds in 2004 and another 20 in 2005. If the herbicide were found above EPA-set levels, the agency would require additional mitigation measures, from better management of pesticide application to the development of buffer zones.
A related document, the revised aquatic life criteria document for atrazine has also been made available by the EPA. The recommended criteria set concentrations of the chemical in water at or below the point at which forms of aquatic life are protected from acute and chronic effects.
The water quality data contained in that document are based “solely on data and scientific judgements” and do not consider any economic impacts or the feasibility of meeting such criteria in ambient water, the EPA said.

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