Atrazine is an herbicide used to control weeds in corn. When used properly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that its use and appearance in the environment below specified levels will not result in harm to humans or the environment. Those using atrazine must have training and be certified or licensed as a pesticide applicator by the State of Minnesota.
Certification or licensing is required to use atrazine:
Atrazine is designated by the EPA as a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP). This requires those who apply atrazine be certified by the State of Minnesota as a private pesticide applicator or be licensed by the State of Minnesota as a commercial or non-commercial pesticide applicator. It also requires that atrazine application records be kept by private pesticide applicators for two years and by commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators for five years. Information on Minnesota’s pesticide applicator certification and licensing programs is available at:
Guidance on atrazine application setbacks from water:
The atrazine label requires that setback distances be maintained from lakes, rivers, wells, sinkholes and tile inlets when mixing, loading, or using atrazine. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has developed guidance to assist applicators in understanding these label requirements:
Voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPs):
Atrazine or its breakdown products have been detected in Minnesota groundwater and surface water. As a result, voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPs) for atrazine were finalized in 2004. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) encourages adoption of atrazine-specific voluntary BMPs appropriate for individual farms (PDF: 37 KB / 2 pages). Atrazine BMP information related specifically to atrazine use in Southeast Minnesota is also available (PDF: 81 KB / 1 page)
Atrazine Watershed Information Center: Developed by atrazine registrants as a condition of its current agreement with EPA, this center has updates for dealers and applicators, including labeling requirements and locations of watersheds having atrazine use prohibitions, if any.
2004 Supplemental Label: Changes to labels of atrazine products in the channels of trade began in the fall of 2004 and include the terms of the EPA-industry agreement. Those using atrazine should familiarize themselves with the atrazine label and follow all label directions. Contact your ag chemical dealer for more information about atrazine labeling. A copy of the 2004 supplemental label template and additional important information can be found at the Atrazine Watershed Information Center.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) monitors groundwater, rivers and springs for the presence of atrazine. The MDA also collects information about the amount of atrazine used by farmers throughout the state.
The Minnesota Department of Health is responsible for establishing state health risk guidelines for atrazine in private water supplies, and for ensuring atrazine testing in the public water supplies serving approximately 80% of Minnesotans. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is responsible for atrazine guidelines for rivers and streams. The MDA also provides information about testing private drinking water supplies for atrazine.
The MDA publishes reports on pesticides in water resources and on pesticide use. These reports include information on a variety of pesticides, including atrazine. In addition, the MDA has prepared documents specific to atrazine.
Gregg Regimbal, Supervisor
Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division