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The EPA will evaluate the pesticide's potential cancer and non-cancer effects on humans. Included in this new evaluation will be the most recent studies on atrazine and its potential association with birth defects, low birth weight, and premature births.
The agency indicated its review will lean heavily on the findings of its independent Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) established under FIFRA.
In its Federal Register release, the EPA included a rough timeline for the assessment process:
- November 2009: Present SAP its plan for the new atrazine evaluation.
- February 2010: Present and seek scientific peer review of proposed plan for incorporating population studies into the risk assessment.
- April 2010: Present and seek peer review of its evaluation based on animal laboratory toxicology studies, selection of safety factors in the risk assessment, and the sampling design currently used to monitor drinking water in community water systems.
- September 2010: Present and seek peer review of its evaluation of atrazine cancer and non-cancer effects based on animal toxicology studies and epidemiology studies. This review is intended to include the most recent results from the National Cancer Institute's Agricultural Health Study, anticipated for publication in 2010.
One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the U.S., atrazine can be applied before and after planting to control broadleaf and grassy weeds, the agency said.
During the new evaluation, according to an agency press release, the EPA said it intends to include data generated since 2003 from laboratory and population studies.
In addition to the scientific review of the effects of atrazine, the EPA said it plans to meet with interested groups to explore better ways to inform the public more quickly about results of atrazine drinking water monitoring.