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Tell the EPA: Ban the use of toxic atrazine

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Tell the EPA:

“Ban the use of the herbicide atrazine in the United States.”

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    Tell the EPA: Ban the use of toxic atrazine

    A long-awaited scientific assessment from the EPA has now confirmed what many have long suspected: The second most widely-used herbicide in the United States, a chemical known as atrazine, has toxic effects on animals and plants, pointing to the strong likelihood of its danger and toxicity to human beings.1

    Produced by chemical giant Syngenta as a weed-killer, 70 million pounds of what is now known to be toxic to animals has been sprayed on U.S. cropland for the past twenty years. Half of the corn grown in the U.S. has been sprayed with atrazine.2

    Previous reports have already shown that atrazine can have toxic effects on humans, and the EPA is slated to release its own report on atrazine’s effects. But with atrazine already banned in the European Union, and with all available evidence showing that atrazine poses a serious risk to human health, we need to begin the call right now for this toxic chemical to be completely banned in the U.S.

    Tell the EPA: Ban the use of toxic atrazine.

    Evidence of atrazine’s toxicity has been mounting for years, long before this latest assessment from the EPA. In 2014, the New Yorker published the story of Tyrone Hayes, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who showed that atrazine acts as an endocrine disruptor and interferes with sexual development in frogs. Hayes became the target of a smear and disinformation campaign by atrazine maker Syngenta to discredit him and his work.3

    It’s clear from scientific research that atrazine’s toxic effects aren’t limited to frogs, but likely extend to humans as well. Those include delayed menopause and a two-fold increased risk of gestational diabetes in women, reproductive problems in men, and birth defects and abnormalities in infants.4

    Atrazine that is sprayed on crops does not generally stay on farm fields, but instead makes its way into surface and groundwater, where it accumulates and can reach toxic levels. Atrazine is now known to be one of the most common contaminants in Americans’ drinking water, exposing an estimated 33 million Americans through their taps. In fact, in 2012, Syngenta paid a settlement of over $100 million to 2,000 utilities across the Midwest -- serving over 52 million Americans -- because of dangerously high levels of atrazine.5

    It’s outrageous that atrazine, which is manufactured by a company based in Switzerland, cannot legally be used in that company’s own home country (or the rest of the European Union). But instead, it gets shipped here to the United States, placing all of us at risk while generating hundreds of millions in profits for its manufacturer. It’s time for the EPA to put that to an end and start protecting Americans toxic chemicals in our food and water, like it’s supposed to.

    Tell the EPA: Ban the use of toxic atrazine.

    Thank you for your activism.

    1. "EPA Releases Draft Triazine Ecological Risk Assessments for Comment," Environmental Protection Agency, June 2, 2016.
    2. Natasha Geiling, "EPA Finds Widely-Used Weed Killer Could Threaten Animals," ThinkProgress, June 3, 2016.
    3. Rachel Aviv, "A Valuable Reputation," The New Yorker, February 10, 2014.
    4. Andrew Wetzler, "Atrazine's manufacture settles lawsuit, but EPA review still looms," NRDC, May 28, 2012.
    5. Charles Duhigg "Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass," The New York Times, August 22, 2009.