Sweet-corn growers will lose their principal method of weed control if use of the herbicide atrazine is eliminated as a result of a comprehensive re-evaluation being carried out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, says an article in the April-June issue of Weed Science Technology.
Atrazine has been registered for use in the United States since 1958 and is a primary mechanism of weed control in all types of corn. The article says the herbicide is even more important in sweet corn.
“Loss of atrazine would have serious consequences, especially to growers whose fields are particularly weedy and to growers moving away from soil cultivation,” the magazine’s publisher, the Weed Science Society, said in a release.
Ongoing controversy about the herbicide has prompted the EPA to conduct a reassessment of its safety.
Studies have shown that water with atrazine levels below EPA acceptable limits can cause sexual disruptions in frogs, including changing some males completely to females.