Atrazine is a common weed killer used by farmers and gardeners to protect crops and manicure golf courses around the United States. This go-to pesticide is finding its way into public waterways through agricultural run-off leading to increasing speculation among researchers that atrazine may cause damaging health effects.
This research suggests that atrazine may cause birth defects, low birth weights and menstrual problems among those exposed to the chemical. Researcher and whistleblower, Tyrone Hayes, was recently featured in the Amazon Original Series “The Ney Yorker Presents,” providing extensive details about the threat that Atrazine plays in the environment and its human health effects:
“There are a number of human health effects. Some of the findings are modeled on rat studies in the laboratory; atrazine causes abortion in rats, atrazine is associated with prostate disease in rats that are exposed in utero, it's associated with poor mammary development and mammary cancer in rats. In humans there are epidemiological studies that show that atrazine is associated with decreased sperm count, and atrazine is associated with increased breast cancer risk in at least one study done in Kentucky. Atrazine is associated with prostate cancer in men who work in their factory with it and most recently several studies have shown that it is associated with birth defects that are consistent with its mechanism of action. Atrazine is associated with choanal atresia where the nasal and oral cavities don't fuse so the baby has a hole in its face; atrazine is associated with a disease where the intestines are outside of the body when the baby is born; and atrazine is also associated with a number of genital malformations in male babies.”
There are many attempts by both States and independent groups in the US to ban atrazine, but Tyrone is not optimistic, pointing out that the “EPA understands the detrimental effect on wildlife and humans but there are economic considerations; that taking atrazine off the market would cause economic harm, at least according to EPA, so they balance the health costs and the environmental risk with the economic benefits of the chemical.”
Read the full interview here on Treehugger.com:
The Aquagear Filter Pitcher removes 98% of Atrazine from municipal tap water.