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Atrazine: Persistent Dangerous Lawn Chemical

Photo:  USDA

Photo: USDA

Roundup and Weed N Feed products are the two most commonly used lawn care chemicals in the United States.

At Lowe’s and Home Depot, consumers fill up their shopping carts with insect and weed killers from spring to fall.  They are totally oblivious to the heath risks.  Use of these chemicals  is so widespread and  even exposure in small amounts is potentially dangerous, but most homeowners never think twice about it. Often, disregarding warnings and instructions on the product itself, they mix different chemicals together.

Atrazine is the most widely used herbicide in this country. Roughly 75 million pounds are applied by consumers annually. You may know it as “Weed B Gon,”  or various names such as “Turfbuilders,” “Weed N Feed,” “Once & Done and in assorted “Winterizer” products. Chemical giants Syngenta, Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and Scott’s sell it under various names.

It is also common for it to be mixed with another dangerous chemical, 2-4-D, which increases its toxicity making it far more dangerous.

Atrazine is used in a variety of settings:  roadside maintenance, on golf courses, forest management, by commercial lawn care companies and many other applications.  The EPA regards this chemical as safe.

It is found in about 90% of stream water tested and 40% of groundwater in the central U.S. and atrazine  is implicated in damage to the ecosystem from birds to amphibian life. In extremely low levels, exposure of frogs to atrazine indicates high incidences of sex change from male to female.   It’s a persistent chemical, remaining in the soil for a long time.  It’s been 15 years since it was banned in France and it’s still found in ground water

A study found that women pregnant during from May to September face the biggest risk to their unborn child by exposure to Atrazine and other Weed N Feed lawn products. Atrazine changes levels of sex hormones resulting is potentially disastrous lifelong effects during pregnancy. Atrazine affects the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen. Birth defects, particularly respiratory, circulatory and neurologic are common.  Increased risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, early birth and low birth weights have been found.

MORE INFORMATION:  Read the article on PR Watch

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Author: B T Hylle

Humanitarian, environmental and food activist, blogging on current societal issues. My blogs cover what's in our food and how it affects our health; the effects of our seemingly small actions regarding chemical and pesticide use in and around our homes and its impact on our Earth.

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