Sunday, December 09, 2007

Potentially harmful levels of weedkiller atrazine showing up in streams in Missouri and Indiana

"Atrazine, the second most widely used weedkiller in the country, is showing up in some streams and rivers at levels high enough to potentially harm amphibians, fish and aquatic ecosystems, according to the findings of an extensive Environmental Protection Agency database that has not been made public," reports Juliet Eilperin in The Washington Post.

"The analysis -- conducted by the chemical's manufacturer, Syngenta Crop Protection -- suggests that atrazine has entered streams and rivers in the Midwest at a rate that could harm those ecosystems, several scientific experts said. In two Missouri watersheds, the level of atrazine spiked to reach a 'level of concern' in both 2004 and 2005, according to the EPA, and an Indiana watershed exceeded the threshold in 2005."

The watersheds were not named, but those in Missouri are in the northeast part of the state. Sygenta toxicology chief Tim Pastoor said those two monitoring sites were prone to excessive runoff for various reasons, including vegetation clearance by a farmer. "Syngenta sales agents and local corn growers are trying to reform the practices of the farmer," Eilperin reports. EPA won't release the analysis because Sygenta claims some of the data are proprietary. The Post got the records from from the Natural Resources News Service, a Washington-based nonprofit group focused on environmental issues. (Read more)

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