The common herbicide atrazine, known to impact wildlife reproductive health, has contaminated watersheds and drinking water throughout much of the United States, according to a new report released recently by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). There are concerns about the chemical’s effects on human reproduction. The environmental nonprofit organization believes that the EPA is ignoring its own data showing broad contamination of U.S. waters by atrazine, a known endocrine disruptor that affects human and animal hormones. Andrew Wetzler, director of NRDC’s Wildlife Conservation Program and deputy director of NRDC’s Midwest Program, as well as one of the report’s authors, stated:
The extent of contamination we found in the data was breathtaking and alarming. The EPA found atrazine almost everywhere they looked. I think that the public will find this hard to swallow and I hope it will help force the EPA to address the situation more aggressively.
The report finds that all of the watersheds monitored by EPA and 90% of the drinking water sampled tested positive for atrazine, which is sold under dozens of brand names. It is now found in more than 45 pre-mixes in the U.S. and is the active ingredient most frequently used by manufacturers in combination herbicide products.
It should be noted that while atrazine is banned by the European Union, it’s regulated in the United States by the EPA. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA has determined that an annual average of no more than three parts per billion (ppb) of atrazine may be present in drinking water. One of the chief findings of the NRDC report is that this reliance on a “running annual average” allows levels of atrazine in drinking water to peak at extremely high concentrations. The effects associated with atrazine, even at low levels of exposure, are said to be well documented.
Some scientists are concerned about exposure for children and pregnant women, as small doses could impact development of the brain and reproductive organs. Atrazine also acts as a multiplier to increase the toxic effects of other chemicals in the environment. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances warns:
Atrazine may affect pregnant women by causing their babies to grow more slowly than normal. Birth defects and liver, kidney, and heart damage has been seen in animals exposed to high levels of atrazine.
The NRDC says the herbicide has “limited economic value” and “safer agricultural methods can be substituted to achieve similar results.” The environmental group would like to see atrazine phased out, more effective atrazine monitoring, and the adoption of farming techniques that can help minimize the use of atrazine to keep it from running into waterways.
The NRDC recommends that consumers concerned about atrazine contamination in their drinking water use a simple and economical household water filter, such as one that fits on the tap. They say that consumers should make sure that the filter they choose is certified by NSF International to meet American National Standards Institute Standard 53 for the reduction of volatile organic compounds. That would make reasonably sure the filter was capable of reducing many contaminants, including atrazine and other herbicides and pesticides. NRDC’s SimpleSteps website includes an online form to allow people to take on a watchdog role by collecting information on how their public water systems are treating these issues. Visit www.simplesteps.org/atrazine for more information.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.