State: No change in rules for herbicide atrazine

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that existing rules for the weed-killer atrazine are adequate to protect the environment and public health.

The department worked with other state agencies to study possible human health impacts, and threats to wildlife in water. Spokesman Michael Schommer said he expects some criticism of the agency's decision to stick with the current standard of three parts-per-billion in drinking water.

"The bottom line is it's risk-benefit analysis and we're adoing the best we can with the information that's available," he said.

Schommer said the department has new equipment to monitor areas where atrazine is widely used, and especially-sensitive parts of the state.

"We'll be able to increase the number of monitoring samples that we're able to analyze for atrazine," he said.

Schommer said the department will also urge people with private wells to have them tested, and will do more to promote best practices for atrazine use on farms.

Atrazine is an endocrine disruptor and studies have linked it with changes in sex function in amphibians.

A federal review of atrazine is due next month.

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