Tufts University Economist: Phasing Out Atrazine Won't Hurt Farmers

Credit: PJM

In Tuesday's Kansas City Star, Tufts University’s Frank Ackerman had a must-read column for anyone interested in the ongoing debate about getting rid of the toxic pesticide atrazine.  Atrazine’s proponents (i.e., the folks making money off of it) assert that phasing out the pesticide will spell economic ruin for farm economies throughout Midwest.  Ackerman makes short work of these assertions.  Money quote:

In fact, [banning] atrazine might have no effect at all on corn yields. Two corn-growing countries, Germany and Italy, both banned atrazine in 1991. I compared the trends in corn yields per acre, and in corn acreage, in the United States, Germany and Italy for 1981-2001. Both Germany and Italy did as well or better in corn production after banning atrazine as they did in the 10 years before the ban. And both countries did as well or better than the United States after banning atrazine.

You can read NRDC’s reports on atrazine contamination in our watersheds and drinking water here and Dr. Jennifer Sass’ update on the EPA’s evaluation of atrazine here.