(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2016) Tell EPA to ban all uses of atrazine in the United States! Atrazine, widely used on food and feed crops, golf courses, and residential lawns, is a potent endocrine disruptor that is strongly associated with birth defects, cancer, sex reversal and hermaphroditism in many different animals. The European Union and other countries have banned atrazine, however EPA continues to put U.S. citizens and the environment in harm’s way, allowing nonstop use of this toxic chemical. Sign Beyond Pesticides’ petition to ban atrazine by October 5, 2016.
Atrazine is the second-most widely used pesticide in the U.S., with over 73 million pounds applied each year. Atrazine has washed into surface water and leached into groundwater, spurring community water utilities across the U.S. to file class-action lawsuits to remove the pesticide from drinking water supplies.
Even at levels established as “safe” or acceptable by EPA drinking water standards, atrazine is linked to endocrine-disrupting effects. EPA is not adequately assessing the effects of atrazine by using high dose testing models, which are not appropriate for hormonally-active substances that often show effects at minute doses. Studies by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, and others have shown that concentrations as little as 0.1ppb impact hormone function in organisms and turns tadpoles into hermaphrodites — organisms with both male and female sexual characteristics. Research also finds that atrazine interferes with mammary gland development in the breast of mammals and is linked to certain birth defects like gastroschisis and choanal atresia, which are significantly increased for pregnant women with high levels of atrazine exposure in agricultural areas and from urban streams.
Despite these disturbing findings and the availability of other least-toxic herbicide options, EPA has taken an unacceptably slow and unresponsive approach in the regulation of atrazine. In previous approvals of atrazine, EPA has concluded that there is no evidence of adverse effects on animal development. However, in April of this year, the agency released a draft ecological risk assessmen that finds atrazine poses unacceptable risks to fish, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and even birds, reptiles and mammals. You can submit comments on the draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine (EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0266) in the federal docket until October 5, 2016.
The assessments evaluated risks to animals and plants, including amphibians, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plant communities, and terrestrial plants. EPA concludes, “aquatic plant communities are impacted in many areas where atrazine use is heaviest, and there is potential chronic risks to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrate in these same locations. In the terrestrial environment, there are risk concerns for mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and plant communities across the country for many of the atrazine uses.” Levels of concerns were exceeded by as much as 200-fold for some organisms!
In July, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that atrazine, its chemical cousins propazine and simazine, and its breakdown triazine compounds would be added to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity for purposes of the state’s Proposition 65.
The evidence is clear. Atrazine harms wildlife, persists in soils, and moves easily through waterways. An EPA official stated years ago that, “The ultimate decision [with atrazine] is much bigger than science, it weighs in public opinion.” Use your voice to #banatrazine!
Take Action: Sign the petition to urge EPA to end the use of atrazine. In order to protect human and ecological health, the agency should take immediate action to eliminate this chemical from our environment!