August 15, 2016
EPA atrazine Report Confirms Dangers To Environment, Animals; Doesn’t Address Side Effects To Humans
While much attention is placed on the toxic herbicide glyphosate, a recent 500-page draft report released by the EPA reveals just how toxic of a landscape the American agricultural system is.
As part of their requirement to review pesticides and herbicides being used in the United States every 15 years, the EPA recently updated their Environmental Impact Assessment for Atrazine. after glyphosate, atrazine is the 2nd most widely used herbicide in the country. A chlorine-based chemical, atrazine can persist in the soil for 22 years and an estimated 70 million pounds is sprayed on crops every year.
The EPA’s report confirms that atrazine, produced by multinational Big Ag companySyngenta, is harmful to animals including fish, and that it leaves behind a rather alarming amount of residue. According to the EPA’s report, atrazine is 62 times higher than what the agency considers a concern for risks to fish. Atrazine exceeds the levels of concern for chronic risks to animals by 198 times.
This report confirms the research of Dr. Tyrone Hayes who claimed that the herbicide was chemically castrating male frogs. Hayes worked for Novartis – a company that is now owned by Syngenta – at the time of his research which, unsurprisingly, Novartis refused to publish.
Hayes resigned, obtained independent funding for his research, which he then subsequently published. As a result, he was subjected to a smear campaign by Syngenta. Although atrazine doesn’t typically kill animals directly, it clearly affects their reproductive, hormonal and developmental systems. Indeed, the EPA’s report admits that adverse effects can occur at relatively low levels and even in lower levels than what were previously known.
Obviously, since atrazine is an herbicide, plants are particularly at risk. The EPA’s report shows that atrazine run-off as well as the drift from the spraying, reduces “land-based plant biodiversity” as well as causing other problems. It is interesting to note, that out of 500 pages, the EPA did not address atrazine’s risk to humans, simply stating that it would address the issue later this year.
That atrazine is dangerous to human beings is also well-known, however. In the corn belt, one disturbing report conducted by the Environmental Working Group discovered that tap water in some areas contained 14 times the amount of legally allowed atrazine. In a number of these towns, infants reached their maximum lifetime safe dosage of the chemical by the time they were four months old. This report was written in the late 1990s but despite growing knowledge of the dangers of herbicides like glyphosate and atrazine, the use of these chemicals have only increased since the late 90s.
But the danger to humans goes beyond that of families living on or near farms.
As the Alliance for Natural Health summarized:
Beyond farm families, there is already plenty of evidence of the dangers of atrazine:
- An independent panel of scientists convened by the EPA in 2011 concludedthat there is “suggestive evidence of [atrazine’s] carcinogenic potential” for ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia, and thyroid cancers, though it found “inadequate evidence” at this time to determine whether the chemical can cause prostate cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, or childhood cancers.
- Another study found that “higher concentrations of atrazine in drinking water” are associated with birth defects.
- Evidence also shows that atrazine could be making us fat. A rat study found that long-term treatment with low concentrations of atrazine induced insulin resistance and weight gain. Obesity was induced in the rats without changing food intake or physical activity, suggesting that atrazine lowered energy metabolism.
The EPA’s report highlights the fact that the United States finds itself in a precarious position both in the relation to food production and food consumption. Aggressive corporate farming has made pesticides and herbicides almost a necessity to continue food production in the same manner as is currently done. But it is also turning the Earth into a toxic wasteland and it is causing immense problems both in terms of human and animal health.
- Atrazine is also an endocrine disruptor, interfering with the hormones in the brain that trigger ovulation.
While it is not feasible to immediately place a ban on all pesticides because of their toxicity, it is also not feasible to continue using them. For that reason, the United States must immediately begin a program of research and development in order to create new, effective health and environmentally friendly pesticides and herbicides that can be used in the place of our current arrangements.
Photo credit: kdwood2 via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA, modified
This article (Atrazine: EPA Report Confirms Common Herbicide Dangers To Environment, Animals) can be republished under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Brandon Turbeville and Natural Blaze.com.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies,Five Sense SolutionsandDispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 600 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.