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Water Quality Studies Show Atrazine Levels Meet Federal Standards

As a popular herbicide in more than 60 countries around the world, atrazine has been carefully studied for years. In 2008, none of the 122 community water systems monitored in 10 states where atrazine is used most exceeded the federal standards set for atrazine in drinking water or raw water.

"Atrazine can be occasionally detected in water at extraordinarily low concentrations (parts per billion1), but these low levels pose no threat to human health. A person could drink thousands of gallons of water containing 3 parts per billion atrazine every day for a lifetime, and still not be affected by atrazine," said Tim Pastoor, Ph.D., principal scientist for Syngenta.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets very conservative standards for chemicals in drinking water that are protective of human health. In the case of atrazine, EPA adopted a federal lifetime drinking water standard for atrazine is set at 3 parts-per-billion (ppb) - a level containing a 1,000-fold safety factor.

In raw (unprocessed) water, atrazine concentrations also declined significantly between 1994 and 2006 at 103 frequently monitored sites. This is due in large part to the best management practices growers now use with waterways and buffer strips. These practices have done much to protect water quality over the last 15 years.

Syngenta continues to work closely with growers in many watershed projects and in other stewardship programs to ensure that atrazine is used according to EPA guidelines and best management practices.

Atrazine recently underwent a rigorous, up-to-date safety evaluation by the EPA and was re-registered for use in agriculture. In 2006, the EPA looked at all of the triazine herbicides together - atrazine, simazine and propazine - and determined they pose "no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other major identifiable subgroups of consumers."

Tens of thousands of such tests continue to show that atrazine poses no dietary health risk to the general population or to children and infants. World-renowned institutions including the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute and EPA all have studied atrazine and found no health concerns when used as directed.

1parts per billion (ppb) is equivalent to one blade of grass in a football field

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