Report shows high levels of pesticide in water
Atrazine, a pesticide that affects human and animal hormones, has contaminated much of the nation’s watershed and drinking water, according to a report released this week by the New York-based National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The pesticide is the most commonly detected pesticide in U.S. waters and has been tied to poor sperm quality in humans and hermaphroditic amphibians, according to NRDC’s “Atrazine: Poisoning the Well: How the EPA is Ignoring Atrazine Contamination in Surface and Drinking Water in the Central United States.”
Atrazine has been banned by the European Union as a known endocrine disruptor, which means that it affects human and animal hormones. According to NRDC, all of the watersheds monitored by EPA and 90 percent of the drinking water sampled tested positive for atrazine. NRDC is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the situation more seriously. “Evidence shows atrazine contamination to be a widespread and dangerous problem that has not been communicated to the people most at risk,” said Jennifer Sass, NRDC senior scientist and an author of the report, in a statement. “EPA is ignoring some very high concentrations of this pesticide in water that people are drinking and using every day. This exposure could have a considerable impact on reproductive health. Scientific research has tied this chemical to some ghastly impacts on wildlife and raises red flags for possible human impacts.”
Contamination was most severe in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri and Nebraska, the report found. An extensive U.S. Geological Survey study found that approximately 75 percent of stream water and about 40 percent of all groundwater samples from agricultural areas contained atrazine.
Read the entire “Atrazine: Poisoning the Well” report.