What are the dangers of atrazine?

The widely used herbicide, atrazine, interferes with thyroid hormones, a factor that suggests a link between the chemical and autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.

Glyphosate (RoundUp) is the most widely used herbicide in the US but atrazine is the second most commonly used. The European Union has banned atrazine and the US Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing its safety as an agricultural additive. According to the US Geological Survey, 95 percent of the drinking water in areas where agriculture is the main industry has measurable amounts of atrazine in it.

Choanal atresia is a rare birth defect that causes the cavity between the nose and mouth to close fully or partially. Breathing problems result and can be fatal. Surgical correction is usually required.

In countries where atrazine use is minimal, there is very little risk of babies being born with choanal atresia. Where medium levels of atrazine are used, the risk of this birth defect increases by 40 percent. Where atrazine use is highest, the risk increases by 80 percent. Research conducted by the Baylor College of Medicine identified a proportional rise in the number of babies born with choanal atresia as the use of atrazine in Texas farm fields rose.

Until the atrazine / choanal atresia connection was identified, thyroid medications taken by a mother during pregnancy was the only known risk for choanal atresia.

How to minimize your exposure

  • Consume organically grown fruits and vegetables obtained from a reliable source.
  • Install a water filter packaged as “NSF Certified,” especially if farm fields are in the vicinity.

< Common Household Chemicals

Source: Main, Emily. “Common Pesticide Linked To Birth Defects.” Prevention. Rodale, Inc. Oct 2012. Web. Dec 4, 2013.