There are few scientific research projects more important to protecting life and preventing its long-term demise than those conducted by Tyrone Hayes, PhD. And now this work is under threat. Dr. Hayes, a Harvard educated biologist and professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, whose research finds that the herbicide atrazine feminizes male frogs, is one of the leading scientists critical of the pesticide industry and regulatory process. This critical research is threatened while, as Dr. Hayes points out, amphibian species are in decline and disappearing.
Dr. Hayes’s work has shown that current regulatory reviews allow widespread use of pesticides that cause serious adverse effects at well-below-allowable legal standards and when in combinations that are not studied. He initially began his research with a study funded by Novartis Agribusiness, one of two corporations that would later form Syngenta, the maker of atrazine. When his results contradicted Novartis’s expected or desired outcome, he was criticized by the company, which withdrew its funding. Dr. Hayes continued the research with independent funding and found more of the same results: exposure to doses of atrazine as small as 0.1 parts per billion (below allowed regulatory limits) turns tadpoles into hermaphrodites — creatures with both male and female sex characteristics. When his work appeared in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sygenta attacked the study, starting an epic feud between the scientist and the corporation. In fact, a June 2013 investigative report by 100Reporters and Environmental Health News exposed the chemical giant’s multi-million dollar campaign to discredit atrazine critics. A February 2014 article in The New Yorker, "A Valuable Reputation," also describes the trials that Dr. Hayes has faced in trying to get out the truth about atrazine. Check out Dr. Hayes's interview on Democracy Now.
Dr. Hayes has published more than 40 papers and 150 abstracts, and has given more than 300 talks on the role of environmental factors in growth and development in amphibians. With cutbacks in government funding and relentless industry attacks, Dr. Hayes has encountered financial challenges, including exceedingly high fees from UC Berkeley's Office of Laboratory Animal Care. We hope his important work will continue; however, without funding he has no way to do his research.
See this article on Dr. Hayes's work in Pesticides and You: Protecting Life: From Research to Regulation: Disappearance of frogs, human health effects linked to pesticide use.
Watch a full presentation of Dr. Hayes's talk at the 31st National Pesticide Forum held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Beyond Pesticides has established The Fund for Independent Science to support Dr. Hayes’s work to protect life from harmful chemicals. His lab operates on an annual budget of $150,000. Funds raised will keep his critical research going forward. Please consider making a pledge to the Fund through the links above and below. If the Fund is able to generate $150,000 in pledges, Beyond Pesticides will then collect your contribution. As the Fund grows, it will be able to support other independent scientific research to inform the growth of the sustainable sector.
There is great need for a mechanism for raising substantial funds to support independent scientific research that can inform sound public policy to protect health and the environment. We need independent science to understand the toxicology of chemicals that are allowed to be introduced into the environment and our food supply. This information is critical to influencing state and local decision makers to act on behalf of public health and the environment — in the face of regulatory decisions (driven by pressure from industries with an economic interest in those decisions) that assume the necessity of toxic materials. Building systems that are not reliant on toxic inputs requires ongoing understanding of the destructive capacity of toxic materials in commerce, and the sustainable materials and practices that can replace them in the marketplace.