EPA Seeks Comments On Atrazine, Alachlor

On Oct. 14, EPA published a Federal Register notice requesting scientific information about the toxicity and bioaccumulation of both atrazine and alachlor. The agency is considering next steps in an effort to develop Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Protection of Human Health for these herbicides.

Section 304(a) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires EPA to develop, publish, and from time to time revise criteria for water that accurately reflect the latest scientific knowledge. Water quality criteria developed under section 304(a) are based solely on data and scientific judgments; economic impacts or the technological feasibility of meeting the criteria in ambient water are not considered, agency officials stated. Section 304(a) criteria are guidance to states and tribes for adopting water quality standards. The criteria also provide a scientific basis for EPA to develop federal regulations under section 303(c).

EPA recently completed a comprehensive review of the available toxicity data for atrazine and alachlor. The list of pertinent references identified by the agency for these two chemicals is available from EPA's electronic public docket under Docket ID Nos. OW-2005-0008 for Atrazine and OW-2005-0009 for Alachlor. EPA is soliciting additional pertinent new toxicity data or information it might use to develop the Ambient Water Quality Criteria for these two chemicals.

In particular, EPA is interested in acquiring from the public any new data, not identified by the agency's literature review, on the toxicity and human exposure to these chemicals from ambient water bodies as well as the bioaccumulation of each of these two chemicals in aquatic organisms to calculate trophic level specific bioaccumulation factors; in addition to seeking input on the references known to the agency, EPA also stated it is soliciting any additional pertinent data or information that may be useful in developing these criteria, particularly new data on the toxicity of these two chemicals.

EPA asks commenters to refer to the agency's "Methodology for Deriving Ambient Water Quality Criteria for the Protection of Human Health--2000" (EPA-822-B-00-004, October 2000 and EPA-822-R-03-030, December 2003); for guidance on data suitability. These documents are available at the EPA Web site under using the following link, http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/criteria/humanhealth/method/index.html. It also is available from EPA's electronic public docket at http://www.epa.gov/edocket.

Submit data and information on or before Nov. 14. The Federal Register notice and fact sheets on atrazine and alachlor can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/criteria/atrachlor.html.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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