Contaminant Spotlight: Atrazine
What is atrazine?
Atrazine is a common ingredient in herbicides. It is a member of the triazine chemical class which includes atrazine, simazine, and propazine. It is most often used in agriculture on corn, sorghum, and sugar cane. It is also used on residential lawns and on golf courses.
What has research found?
The EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, has been monitoring the chemical for the past 20 years in order to determine its potential toxicity and its effects on plant and animal life. They've concluded that aquatic environments are directly impacted by heavy use of atrazine. Similarly, terrestrial environments are negatively impacted by the presence of atrazine, and the EPA noted that the levels of atrazine found in these areas were 198 times the amount that posed chronic risk for mammals, specifically. Based on the evidence, the EPA predicts that plant biodiversity and plant communities are likely to be affected from off field exposures via runoff and through spray drift. Aquatic environments are at risk too. The EPA predicts, with current levels of atrazine present in those communities, there will be reproductive effects and may even change the structures and functions of plants in those environments.
Because of the FFDCA (The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act), the EPA is also required to routinely conduct research that explores the potential risk to humans that various commonly used chemicals pose, like atrazine. Through research, the EPA determined that atrazine causes neuroendocrine and endocrine-related developmental and reproductive effects. Potential atrazine exposure exists in our lawn care, in our food supply, and in our water supply in levels that may pose a health risk.
What can you do?
While we cannot entirely limit our exposure to harmful contaminants, we can minimize it through our choices. For instance, by choosing organic produce we can limit our exposure to potentially harmful herbicides. Similarly, in our yards, we can seek out more alternative methods to keep our lawns looking pretty. (Albeit, there is a reason most resort to something stronger for weed management, but there are actually a lot of weeds that provide medicinal and nutritional benefits to us. Maybe it's time to rethink weeds.) And, of course, we can filter our water.
Unfortunately, we are finding out more and more that harmful substances are finding their way into our water sources and a lot of the potential health risks are yet to be fully researched and documented. Though, what we have seen is enough to make the hair on our skin stand straight up. While it is easy to feel overwhelmed by this reality it's important to stay optimistic and realize there is a lot we can do to counteract this. Like, filtering our water. 😉
Fortunately for you, all of our filters remove over 99.7% of atrazine and chemicals like it. As humans, we require a good deal of water to properly function, so investing in clean water really does play a large role in being healthy. If drinking filtered water helps you sleep even a little bit better at night, it is certainly worth it. 🤗
To read the referenced reports in this article, see the links below.