A recent report detailing the breakdown of water samples from Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota found that the pesticide atrazine is still being found in the drinking water at extremely dangerous levels. The levels in question have been linked to birth defects and low birth weight.
“These water monitoring results should raise concerns for policymakers, they confirm that atrazine continues to contaminate Midwest drinking water at meaningful levels…Endocrine disrupting chemicals like atrazine are hormonally active at vanishingly small amounts. That is why scientists are looking again at atrazine, and that is why the EU set the water contamination tolerance levels at .1 ppb. The EPA’s current legal limit of 3 ppb is 30 times that and much too permissive. The best way to ensure rural communities and farmers are protected is to keep atrazine out of their water entirely,” Emily Marquez, PhD, an endocrinologist at the Pesticide Action Network stated.
What’s more disconcerting is while atrazine has been found in the majority of Midwestern homes and farms, it has been found in 94% of drinking water tested by USDA. Let me repeat that: 94%! And the average results find atrazine levels frequently found are five times the EU levels and levels associated with adverse health effects.
This isn’t the first time the ill effects of atrazine have been pointed out. Last summer, the EPA’s independent scientific advisory panel concluded after 18 months of research atrazine has the carcinogenic potential to cause ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia and thyroid cancer.
The use of the chemical is heavily concentrated in Illinois cornfields where applications go up to 85 pounds per square mile. It’s predominately used in cornfields across the Midwest. While the EPA is reevaluating its position on atrazine, millions of people are being put at risk.
Live well, my little guinea pigs!