Griffin Haas

What is Atrazine?

Atrazine is an organic chemical compound that is known as a contaminant. In solid form, atrazine is a white, crystalline compound. Used widely as as a herbicide for control of broadleaf and grassy weeds, its uses were restricted beginning in 1993. It is a restricted use pesticide (RUP) which means only certified herbicide users can purchase and use atrazine.
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Atrazine is one of the most widely-used agricultural pesticides in the United States. It is primarily used in the crop production of corn, sorghum, and sugarcane; it used most heavily in the Midwest. Therefore, its main source is agriculture.
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Problems Associated With Atrazine

Atrazine can have adverse affects on on the human body when an individual drinks water with excess levels (compared to the MCL) of atrazine. The cardiovascular system may be affected and reproductive difficulties may occur as the result of long-term exposure.

Once introduced into the environment, atrazine tends to runoff with rainfall or enter soil, and eventually enters groundwater or bodies of surfacewater. Atrazine also has the potential to enter the air. Atrazine does not tend to accumulate in living organisms and therefore does not usually build up within the food chain. Atrazine may also affect the blood-hormone levels of some organisms, affecting their ability to reproduce. The kidneys, liver, and heart of animals have also been found to be affected in response to atrazine exposure.

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Atrazine exposure (of humans as well as the environment) can be reduced through heavier restrictions or legislation regarding the use of pesticides containing atrazine. Avoiding the digging and handling of soil in areas where atrazine is known to have been applied is an individual measure one may take to reduce risk of exposure. Well-water testing (especially in the Midwest) is important - high levels of atrazine in well water have been found in this region before. For county/public water systems, the continued monitoring of atrazine levels and use of granular activated carbon to reduce levels are suggested.