Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in the US. It is used to prevent the growth of broadleaf weeds in certain crops, such as corn and sugarcane. According to researchers based out of the University of California at Berkeley, “Approximately 80 million pounds are applied annually in the United States alone - making it the most common contaminant of ground and surface water”.1 The European Union has banned the chemical entirely.
Atrazine has the ability to be transported more than 1000 km from the original point of application via rainfall. This means that it has the potential to contaminate remote areas where it isn’t even used. One statistic suggests that over a half-million pounds of atrazine are precipitated in rainfall each year in the United States.2
Recent research conducted by The National Center for Biotechnical Information (NCBI) demonstrates potential consequences of atrazine exposure among adult amphibians. The statistics below from the study clearly highlight the vast array of effects due to atrazine exposure.3
- Atrazine-exposed male amphibians were both demasculinized (chemically castrated) and completely feminized as adults.
- Ten percent of the exposed genetic males developed into functional females that produced viable eggs.
- Atrazine-exposed males experienced lowered testosterone levels, decreased breeding gland size, demasculinized/feminized laryngeal development, suppressed mating behavior, reduced sperm generation, and decreased fertility. 3
What does this mean for humans?
While this study is showing the potential effects of a pesticide on amphibians, the same effects have not been clinically duplicated among humans. Although research and studies suggest that Atrazine is indeed an endocrine disruptor that chemically alters the natural hormonal system at certain doses.
Recently the Endocrine Society, an international medical organization, released a statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In it, they listed obesity, diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer in males, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems as being affected by exposure to EDCs.4
In short, ECDs have the potential to alter the natural balance of hormones in the body and give rise to a host of negative consequences.
Why Organic Matters
The best way to avoid atrazine is by purchasing organic meat and poultry. The old adage, “you are what you eat”, has never been truer. According to the USDA, corn is the primary U.S. feed grain, accounting for more than 95 percent of total feed for non-organic livestock. With atrazine being used primarily on corn and our livestock being fed primarily that same corn, our consumption of those animals can lead to atrazine in our system. Studies dating back to 2011 have found that “Atrazine-treated feed ingested by cattle had the potential to be transferred into the biological samples and consequently can be considered as a potential hazard for the public health”.5
Strictly consuming organic foods ensures that no additional toxins, pesticides, and hormones interfere with the purification process and reset of the body’s weight regulation receptors.
By choosing organic foods and becoming more aware of where your food comes from, you will be on the road to restoring your body’s natural balance and Betr health!
- Solomon, K.R., Baker, D.B., Richards, R.P., Dixon, K.R., Klaine, S.J., La Point, T.W., Kendall, R.J., Weisskopf, C.P., Giddings, J.M., Giesy, J.P., Hall, L.W., Jr. and Williams, W.M. (1996), Ecological risk assessment of atrazine in North American surface waters. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 15: 31-76.
- Thurman, E. and Cromwell, A. (2000). Atmospheric Transport, Deposition, and Fate of Triazine Herbicides and Their Metabolites in Pristine Areas at Isle Royale National Park. Environmental Science & Technology, 34(15), pp.3079-3085.
- Hayes TB, Khoury V, Narayan A, et al. Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107(10):4612–4617.
- Gore AC, Chappell VA, Fenton SE, et al. Executive Summary to EDC-2: The Endocrine Society's Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals. Endocr Rev. 2015;36(6):593–602.
- Peighambarzadeh S, Safi S, Shahtaheri S, Javanbakht M, Rahimi Forushani A. Presence of atrazine in the biological samples of cattle and its consequence adversity in human health. Iran J Public Health. 2011;40(4):112–121.