|Rep. Ellison Reintroduces Bill Banning Atrazine|
|April 03, 2012|
WASHINGTON--Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) has reintroduced legislation (H.R.4318) to ban the herbicide atrazine, a potent toxin that is the most prevalent herbicide found in Minnesota’s waters.
Atrazine is used nationwide to kill broadleaf and grassy weeds, primarily in corn crops. The U.S. Geological Survey has found atrazine in approximately 75 percent of stream waters and 40 percent of ground waters sampled near agricultural areas. However, atrazine has found to be harmful to humans, mammals, and amphibians even when the amount used is less than the government allows. What’s more the chemical has only moderate agricultural benefits.
“No one should ever have to worry if the water they drink is making them sick or affecting fertility,” said Rep. Ellison. “Germany and Italy banned atrazine use in 1991 and Euro zone health officials banned its use in 2003. Yet, almost 10 years later the United States is still using it. We need to remove toxins like atrazine from our waterways.”
Atrazine is specifically associated with infertility, low birth weight, and abnormal infant development in humans. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acknowledges that the chemical may also harm the reproductive and endocrine systems in fish species.
“Banning Atrazine is the most effective way for us to keep our rivers and drinking water safe from toxic herbicides and this bill is a great first step toward achieving that,” said Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) attorney Mae Wu.
“While exposure to atrazine puts all of our communities at increased risk of diseases such as prostate and breast cancer, infant mortality, and birth defects, it is farm-workers and their families -- most of whom are low-income people and people of color -- who are at the greatest risk,” Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota noted. [Officials] estimate that each year as many 20,000 farm workers are poisoned due to exposure to agricultural chemicals such as atrazine. Congressman Ellison’s bill is a significant step toward improving human and environmental health for all Americans.”
“There is no reason to continue using a pesticide like atrazine when we know the risk it presents to our water and to human health and there are safer alternatives available,” said Deanna White, Minnesota State Director for Clean Water Action. “Pesticides present a real health risk and we applaud Congressman Ellison for taking on this critical fight to protect our health and our environment