EPA Sets Meeting on Atrazine

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a Scientific Advisory Panel public meeting Tuesday,  to review and consider the ecological risks from the use of Atrazine. The product is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States and it could be banned here. Produced by Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta, Atrazine has been banned in the European Union since 2004, but 80 million pounds of it are applied in the United States each year.

Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor that has been shown to cause immunosuppression, hermaphroditism and even complete sex reversal in male frogs at concentrations as low as 2.5 parts per billion. The chemical has been linked to reproductive defects in fish and prostate and breast cancer in laboratory rodents, and epidemiological studies suggest it is carcinogenic to humans. Atrazine is the most commonly detected pesticide in American groundwater.

It is used primarily on corn, sugarcane, rice, sorghum and on golf courses and lawns. Atrazine has a history of being extremely persistent in the environment: it is still detectable in France 15 years after its last usage there.

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