Economic Analysis of Atrazine

Natural Resources Defense Council
Project completed in 2013; peer-reviewed journal article published in 2014.

Atrazine, a chemical weed killer used on most of the U.S. corn crop, is the subject of ongoing controversy, with increasing documentation of its potentially harmful health and environmental impacts. Supporters of atrazine claim it is of great value to farmers; in 2011 Syngenta, the producer of atrazine, sponsored a set of studies reporting huge economic benefits from atrazine use. But a Synapse study on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) finds that the Syngenta analyses overlooked less harmful weed management alternatives, and greatly exaggerated the economic benefits of atrazine use. Syngenta’s most complete analysis implies that in the absence of atrazine, farm revenues would increase by more than $1 billion annually, while consumers would face price increases of no more than $0.03 per gallon of gasoline and $0.01 per 4-ounce hamburger. To view a related journal article, “Would banning atrazine benefit farmers,” please visit: Please contact Synapse with questions related to this article.