Atrazine and other triazines have been under a re-review by EPA for the past few years. Last week, EPA posted its preliminary human health risk assessment on the Internet. They also posted a notice announcing that the public would have a 60-day comment period that will end April 14.

If you are interested in the assessment, you can visit the EPA Web site at www.epa.gov/pesticides/

There is a lot of information there, but the bottom line is that EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee classified atrazine as "Not Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans." The FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel review atrazine supports that assessment, too.

That is good news to farmers who have come to rely on this effective and inexpensive herbicide for weed control in corn and grain sorghum.

The next step in the process is a public comment period. You can bet that there will be some environmental groups that will want to go ahead and

eliminate atrazine, regardless of the scientific findings.

It looks like we will probably lose Lorsban because there was a lack of producer support. Producers who depend upon atrazine should make public comments.

The process for making public comments isn't very complicated. The first step is to identify the subject you are commenting on with a docket control number. In this case it is OPP-34237 (atrazine).

Make sure to include that

number in any comment submitted, whether by US Mail, telephone or e-mail. The e-mail address is opp-docket@epa.gov. For US Mail, address your letters to Public

Information and Records Integrity Branch, Information Resources and

Services Division (7502C), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental

Protection Agency, Rm. 119, Crystal Mall #2, 1921, Jefferson Davis Hwy.,

Arlington, VA. You can also call 703-305-5805 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

eastern, Monday through Friday, to leave comments.

EPA suggests that you prepare your comments as follows. First,

explain your views as clearly as possible. Tell them how the use of

atrazine affects your business. If you think that alternatives to atrazine will result in additional costs of production, explain how you arrived at the estimate that you provide. It would be helpful if you provided specific examples to illustrate this.

Then make sure that you submit your comments before April 14. Don't forget to include the OPP-34237 docket control number in your comments.

I have been told that farmers made a huge number of comments the

last time public comments were requested on this subject. If atrazine is important to your business, you will want to make sure your voice is heard

this time, too.