Alarming new Atrazine data
by Kerry Kriger, Ph.D., Founder, Executive Director, Ecologist with "Save The Frogs" [www.savethefrogs.com/kerry-kriger]
Banned in the European Union since 2004, Atrazine is the most commonly detected pesticide in America's rainwater, tapwater and groundwater. Produced by Switzerland-based Syngenta (the world's largest pesticide company), Atrazine is a known endocrine disruptor that can turn male frogs into females at concentrations as low as 3 parts per billion. If you live in America, you are drinking and eating Atrazine. And if you think your government is working hard to protect you from Atrazine, you are wrong!
2013 EPA data shows Atrazine levels above legal limits in 25% of US water samples -
The US Environmental Protection Agency recently released their 2013 Atrazine Ecological Exposure Monitoring Program data. The data is extremely alarming: over 25% of the 938 water samples contained over 3 parts per billion and the concentrations went as high as 193 parts per billion: over 60 times the legally acceptable limit. These measurements came from water bodies in five states (MO, IA, TX, LA, NE). Atrazine has now been shown to satisfy the EPA's requirements for revoking a pesticide's registration: (1) it has well-documented harmful effects on a wide variety of organisms; (2) it is regularly found in ecosystems and tap water sources at harmful concentrations; and (3) banning Atrazine is unlikely to cause major economic problems for the American economy, just as its ban has not caused problems in Europe. The EPA's mission is to protect human health and the environment, and the EPA now has the necessary data - and thus the obligation - to revoke Atrazine's registration.
Hundreds of millions more pounds of Atrazine will be dumped onto American soil, minimum!
Earlier this year I had a phone meeting with two of the highest officials in the US Environmental Protection Agency: Jim Jones (Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention) and Dr. Steven Bradbury (Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs). I asked them what the EPA is doing about the 80 million pounds of Atrazine that get sprayed on America's soil each year, contaminating our food and water. They informed me that the EPA is expected to release a draft assessment of Atrazine in early 2015. This will go up for public comment and a final decision regarding Atrazine's legality will be made in 2016. Even if the EPA decides to cancel Atrazine's registration, it would still be years before it is taken off the market. That means that the EPA's current best case scenario is to allow hundreds of millions more pounds of Atrazine to be dumped onto American soil. I asked Jim Jones if he has the power to ban Atrazine with his signature, to which he replied that he does. I then asked him if he would please ban Atrazine. He said that he was not prepared to do that.
"The US should be the precedent and leader in scientific advancement and ecological protection, not an embarrassment of capitalism-driven destruction. Banning Atrazine will be a step in the right direction."
-- Excerpt of a letter to the USEPA from the students of Troy High School in Fullerton, California.
The EPA's Administrator Gina McCarthy has never been briefed on Atrazine -
Administrator Gina McCarthy took over the EPA in July 2013. I asked Assistant Administrator Jim Jones if she has ever been briefed on Atrazine. Mr. Jones reports directly to the Administrator and is in charge of everything related to pollution and pesticides, and thus he would know if she has been briefed on Atrazine, as it is his job to do the briefing. He informed me that Administrator McCarthy has never been briefed on Atrazine! That means that the highest ranking US government official tasked to protect America's people and wildlife from environmental threats may be completely unaware that Atrazine even exists, let alone that it causes reproductive problems for every vertebrate group on which it has been tested! You can personally brief Administrator McCarthy by calling her at 202-564-4700.
The EPA has disregarded the results of 74 of the 75 published atrazine studies that have been conducted on amphibians -
The EPA has assessed 75 published scientific papers on the effects of Atrazine, but they have disregarded the results of every single study other than a single study. The one study they have deemed worthy of use (Kloas et al. 2009) was funded by Syngenta, the manufacturer of Atrazine. The EPA's rationale for doing this was that they created a list of 17 criteria that every study must live up to; if a study did not meet all 17 criteria, its results were thrown out. Thus the EPA effectively deems all 74 scientific teams to be flawed, as well as all the peer reviewers, the editors and the journals that published the studies. Yet the EPA has provided no funding for new research and is not conducting its own research. This is in direct contradiction to President Obama's 2011 Executive Order: "By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to improve regulation and regulatory review, it is hereby ordered as follows: our regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. It must be based on the best available science. It must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas." -- President Barack Obama, Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), January 18th, 2011