Monday, August 24, 2009

Atrazine Weed Killer May be More Dangerous Than Previously Thought

The New York Times reported, "For decades, farmers, lawn care workers, and professional green thumbs have relied on the popular weed killer atrazine to protect their crops, golf courses, and manicured lawns." The chemical often washes into water supplies and has become among the most common contaminants in American reservoirs and other sources of drinking water." However, recently released research indicates that atrazine "may be dangerous at lower concentrations than previously thought," suggesting that the chemical "may be associated with birth defects, low birth weights, and menstrual problems." And while officials at the Environmental Protection Agency say Americans are not exposed to unsafe levels of atrazine," some scientists and health advocates "argue that the recent studies offer enough concerns that the government should begin re-examining its regulations. They also say that local water systems -- which have primary responsibility for the safety of drinking water -- should be forced to monitor atrazine more frequently, in order to detect short-term increases and warn people when they occur."

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