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EPA Seeks Public Comments on Atrazine– a Pesticide Commonly Found in Drinking Water

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Even if you haven’t heard of atrazine, a pesticide produced by the Swiss-based company Syngenta Crop Protection, chances are high that you’ve imbibed it in your drinking water.  Every year, United States farms use 60-80 million pounds of atrazine. Eighty-five percent of the pesticide is used on corn crops with the rest used primarily on sorghum and sugarcane.

 

From now until August 26, the EPA is seeking public comments on whether or not to continue to allow atrazine on crops in the United States.

 

Nine years ago, in October 2003, the EPA allowed continuing use of atrazine at the same time that the European Union opted to ban the chemical because of its widespread role in water contamination. According to the subsequent 2006 U.S. Geological Survey, atrazine is the single most commonly detected pesticide contaminant in U.S. waters; about 75 percent of stream samples and about 40 percent of ground-water samples in American agricultural areas contain atrazine.

 

These numbers should be worrisome because exposure to atrazine may be associated with lung, bladder, ovarian and colon cancer in humans. Also implicated are cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma. The chemical may also claim amphibian victims, leading, for example, to reproductive disorders and hermaphroditism in frogs.

 

Currently, EPA limits the average annual concentration of atrazine in drinking water at three parts per billion. This is 50 percent higher than the two parts per billion recommended by the World Health Organization.

 

Visit the American Water Works Association (AWWA), to read the EPA’s Federal Register notice and learn more about atrazine registration. AWWA describes itself as the oldest and largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to safe and sustainable water in the world.  

 

SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger speaks to the US Environmental Protection Agency's hearings on the effects of Atrazine on aquatic wildlife in Arlington, VA: