Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184
WASHINGTON – According to a new study from University of Chicago economist Don L. Coursey, Ph.D., banning the herbicide Atrazine would damage an already struggling economy and would result in lost jobs in rural America. Professor Coursey's research indicates that a ban would cost corn growers between $26 and $58 per acre and would wipe out between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs related to corn production, with additional job losses in both the sugar cane and sorghum industries.
Atrazine is the second-most commonly used herbicide in the U.S. As the crop protector of choice for U.S. agriculture producers, Atrazine has been safely used by corn, sorghum and sugar growers for more than 50 years.
In 2006 after evaluating more than 6000 studies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed a 12-year review of Atrazine and found that Atrazine presents no threat to human health or the environment. Despite the rigorous scientific review completed by the agency only three years prior, the Obama administration's EPA announced in late 2009 it would initiate an unprecedented reevaluation of Atrazine in response to calls by activist groups to ban this vital crop protection tool.
Professor Coursey writes the following about his study
"Such a ban acts as a pure tax on corn production, so its impact will be felt distinctly in America's corn-growing rural heartland.
"Corn growers, who like other farmers are preparing to feed the earth’s anticipated 9 billion inhabitants by mid-century, would suffer lost income, yields, certainty, reliability and predictability. Unintended and unforeseeable consequences, such as weed escapes from substitute protection programs, could have serious and lasting effects, which costs are not included here.
"Other losses, not included in the per-acre estimates, would be borne by society at large....
"Unplanned reviews to satisfy implacable activists may bring political benefits, but wiping out established inputs based on anything less than clear and compelling science treats jobs and income cheaply - and expresses wanton indifference to our need for economic recovery."