Atrazine Spikes Raise Concern | August 31, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 35 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 35 | p. 21 | Concentrates
Issue Date: August 31, 2009

Atrazine Spikes Raise Concern

Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: Natural Resources Defense Council, drinking water, pesticides

EPA is underestimating the risks of the herbicide atrazine in drinking water because the agency ignores seasonal spikes in concentrations and only looks at yearly averages to determine whether the legal limit of 3 ppb has been exceeded, claims a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The environmental group obtained data from EPA showing that 54 out of 139 (39%) drinking water systems had one-time peak atrazine levels above 3 ppb. The highest concentration was 39.69 ppb in Evansville, Ill. In the U.S., 60 million to 80 million lb of atrazine is applied annually to fields, primarily on corn, according to the report. Studies have linked the chemical to birth defects and reproductive problems, but EPA and Syngenta, the primary maker of atrazine, say those studies are inconclusive and stand behind atrazine’s safety.

 
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