Know your tap water contaminants: Atrazine

Know your tap water contaminants: Atrazine

What is Atrazine?

Atrazine is a herbicide. It's used by big agricultural companies to prevent weed growth among crops like sugar cane, corn and others. It's also used to prevent broad leaf weed growth on golf courses and home lawns. Atrazine is manufactured by Syngenta and is one of the most heavily sprayed pesticides in American agriculture. The Environmental Working Group classifies Atrazine as a hormone disrupter. 

How does Atrazine get into my tap water?

Like most other contaminants, Atrazine can make it's way into drinking water systems by way of farmland runoff. These industrial weedkillers can move from an agricultural site, into nearby water sources like lakes, rivers and streams. From there, these waters can be diverted, tapped, or used for local water municipalities.

atrazine in drinking water

Atrazine is used as an agricultural herbicide.

What are the consequences of consuming elevated levels of Atrazine?

Atrazine, when consumed acts as an endocrine disruptor. This means that natural hormone levels can be altered. The EWG mentions that studies have shown Atrazine can increase cancer risks, cause shorter pregnancy, and alter menstrual cycles. 

How do I know if my water contains Atrazine?

The EWG recommends checking their database to see if your local waters are affected. If you are concerned about Atrazine levels you may also contact your local water utility or public health department.

How do I avoid consuming Atrazine?

The EWG has urged the EPA to ban this pesticide, but until then they recommend filtering your tap to ensure a last line of defense. 

For more complete information, see the Environmental Working Group's webpage.