Pond

Swiss biotech corporation, Syngenta, has launched a campaign promoting the safety of atrazine, the controversial chemical herbicide targeted in the recent documentary “Last Call at the Oasis.”

Calling it “Saving the Oasis,” Syngenta’s pro-atrazine website features several films (“Atrazine and Water,” “Atrazine and Safety,” and “Atrazine and Food Safety”) and information intended to debunk claims made about atrazine’s negative effects featured in “Last Call at the Oasis,” the documentary film released earlier this year featuring activist and author, Erin Brokovich. The film showcases the challenges the planet is currently facing in regards to fresh water supplies. From droughts and watershed issues to contamination with chemicals including pesticides, the film dedicates a significant segment to atrazine contamination and its endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic effects on human health and the environment.

Atrazine is used to control weeds that can interfere with corn, sugarcane, sorghum and wheat production, along with certain fruits and grasses. It’s so widely used that it is considered a significant water pollutant and connected with a worldwide decline of frog populations. Low levels of atrazine exposure—as little as 0.1 parts per billion—have been implicated in causing frogs to demasculinize or become hermaphrodites. Frogs are indicator species, and are often the first to show symptoms before the rest of an ecosystem is affected by a contaminant or pollutant.

As an incentive to visiting the Syngenta website, for every viewing of the pro-atrazine videos on the company’s website, a $5 donation to the Iowa Food Bank will be made by the company.

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Image: SheldonPhotography