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EPA Gives Agribusiness Giant Syngenta a Pass on Pesticide Monitoring Due to COVID-19 Concerns

Syngenta requested the move to comply with travel restrictions.

Amid COVID-19 restrictions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allowed Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta to halt its water monitoring program of a pesticide linked to reproductive issues and cancer that is found in the drinking water of millions of Americans.

Since 2004, the agency has required Syngenta to monitor waterways for atrazine, a potent herbicide often sprayed on corn, because of its effects on human and ecological health.

But Syngenta asked for a reprieve this growing season in order to comply with travel restrictions imposed by Midwestern states, where the most pollution usually occurs. 

On April 1, the EPA granted that request.

“The atrazine ecological monitoring program is a labor-intensive program requiring travel to five states in a timely manner. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the states in the monitoring regions have issued shelter in place orders,” said Chris Totino, a spokesman for Syngenta. “Additionally, many companies like Syngenta have instituted travel restrictions for the protection of their employees’ health. The monitoring program could not be conducted this year without asking workers to violate these travel restrictions and put themselves in harm’s way.”

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