More than 250 organizations have asked the EPA to ban atrazine, a toxic chemical pesticide linked with serious environmental and human health issues.
Made up of groups from the environmental conservation, public health, and sustainable farming sectors, the coalition sent a letter to the agency earlier this week urging the EPA to take action to ban the endocrine disruptor that's been known to cause exposed frogs to change gender.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, amphibians are particularly vulnerable to pesticides that pollute waterways "where their permeable skins absorb contaminants from agricultural runoff." Scientist Dr. Tyrone Hayes at the University of California has shown that atrazine "chemically castrates and feminizes male frogs at concentrations lower than the level allowed in drinking water by the EPA."
Humans exposed to atrazine may be at a higher risk for thyroid cancer, reproductive issues and birth defects.
“We need to get this dangerous pesticide out of our water supply before it does any more damage,” Collette Adkins Giese, a Center for Biological Diversity biologist and lawyer who works to save imperiled amphibians and reptiles, said in a statement. The Center for Biological Diversity also submitted comments from more than 38,000 people to the EPA.
“It’s pretty obvious that a pesticide that chemically castrates male frogs is highly suspect for people too, as well as bad for other wildlife,” said Giese. “It certainly shouldn’t be showing up in our drinking water.”
Atrazine is banned in Europe because of the health and environmental risks, but as much as 80 million pounds are used in the U.S. each year. A U.S. Geological Survey study found it in approximately 75 percent of stream water and 40 percent of all groundwater samples taken from agricultural areas.
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