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The Harmful Effects of Atrazine

By InterGalactic SpaceNinjaPublished 5 months ago 3 min read

The use of atrazine, a widely used herbicide, has caused significant environmental and health risks, including water contamination, adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes in humans and animals. This topic is the subject of much debate and controversy. While it has been used for decades to control weeds in agriculture and other settings, concerns have been raised about its potential impact on human health and the environment. In this article, we will delve deeper into what atrazine is, how it works, and what the current research says about its safety and impact on the environment.

Tyrone Hayes, a biologist, has a unique story about his work with atrazine. In 1997, Hayes was hired to study the effects of the world's number one selling pesticide, atrazine. His initial studies found that atrazine had demasculinizing effects on African clawed frogs. Novartis, now Syngenta, refuted his studies and ended the research it had commissioned with Hayes. Since then, Hayes has continued his studies at the University of California Berkeley and speaks publicly about the connections between atrazine, frogs, and human development.

In a trendy refurbished warehouse district on a spring night, people gather at a creative space not for wine and sculpture, but to hear about frogs. Hayes engages his audience with his story, and he has one simple way of making the connection between his audience and his frogs. As he tells the audience what atrazine does to the frogs' hormones, he asks them to think about what it does to humans.

Atrazine is now the second most widely used pesticide in the United States. The EPA has recently drafted a report citing atrazine as a chronic risk, not just for frogs, but for mammals, birds, and other wildlife, even when used according to labels. Chemical companies and agriculture associations refute the research citing the chemical's role in increasing agricultural output and previous studies finding that atrazine is safe.

Tyrone Hayes discovered that a popular herbicide may have harmful effects on the endocrine system. He was first hired in 1997 by a company that later became agribusiness giant Syngenta. They asked him to study their product, atrazine, a pesticide that is applied to more than half the corn crops in the United States and widely used on golf courses and Christmas tree farms. However, after Hayes found results that the manufacturer did not expect, showing that atrazine causes sexual abnormalities in frogs and could cause the same problems for humans, Syngenta refused to allow him to publish his work. This was the start of an epic feud between the scientist and the corporation.

An article in the New Yorker magazine uses court documents from a class-action lawsuit against Syngenta to show how it sought to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from banning the profitable chemical. The company's public relations team drafted a list of four goals. The first was to discredit Hayes. In the spiral-bound notebook, Syngenta's Communications manager, Sherry Ford, who referred to Hayes by his initials, wrote that the company could prevent citing of the data by revealing him as non-credible. She also wrote that if Hayes was involved in a scandal, enviros would drop him.

In an interview on Democracy Now, Hayes shared his experience. He was approached by the manufacturer to study the effects of atrazine on frogs. After discovering the chemical's harmful effects, he faced resistance from the company, which sought to discredit him and prevent him from publishing his work. Hayes's story sheds light on the lengths that chemical companies will go to protect their profits at the expense of public health and the environment.

In conclusion, atrazine, a widely used herbicide, poses significant environmental and health risks. The chemical's impact on human health and the environment has been the subject of much debate and controversy.


About the Creator

InterGalactic SpaceNinja

NYC based, Sag-Aftra actor and story teller.

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