Daily News Archive
The study published in Environmental Health Perspectives on October 23 (doi:10.1289/ehp.5932 ) found that male Leopard Frogs dosed with > .1 part per billion (ppb) of atrazine in water developed dramatic female sexual characteristics, including retarded gonadal development (gonadal dysgenesis) and testicular oogenesis (hermaphroditism), many of the atrazine concentrations found were 30 times lower then federal safe drinking water standards. This publication followed a previous study that found similar effects on African Clawed Frogs. The investigations found reproducible effects in the lab and in field studies from Utah to the Iowa border.
Atrazine is the most common herbicide used in the US, contamination is widespread and can be present in excess of 1.0 ppb even in precipitation and in areas where it is not used. Combined with reported similar effects in African Clawed Frogs, the current data raise concern about the effects of atrazine on amphibians in general and the potential role of atrazine and other endocrine disrupting pesticides in amphibian declines. Despite the significance of the reported effects in both studies the experiments were conducted in the laboratory on a single species. Whether the effects of atrazine are widespread in amphibians and whether effects occur in the wild remained unanswered. This information comes during the current reregistration process for atrazine at the EPA.
The abstract for this study can be found at http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2003/5932/abstract.html