The herbicide atrazine has been found in drinking water and should be banned say several health and environmental groups.

The herbicide atrazine has been found in drinking water and should be banned say several health and environmental groups.
Photo Credit: Environmental Defence

Groups want restrictions on pesticide in drinking water

Several health and environmental groups are expressing “deep concern” that Canadian officials decided to not ban the pesticide atrazine which is present in some drinking water.

The chemical is widely used on corn and sorghum crops across Canada. It is said to change the sex of frogs and have a negative impact on aquatic ecosystems.

Many Canadians get their drinking water from surface water.
Many Canadians get their drinking water from surface water. © CBC

Atrazine banned in some European countries

Because it has been banned in some OECD countries, Canada was obliged to review it. But that review only considered atrazine in groundwater and found it was safe to continue its use. Equiterre, Environmental Defence, Ecojustice and the Canadian Association of Physicians pressured the regulator to look at surface water too.

“One of the most concerning or alarming issues around atrazine in Canada is the fact that atrazine has been shown in drinking water,” says Muhannad Malas, toxics program manager at Environmental Defence. “So, on a daily basis, many Canadians are being exposed to atrazine through drinking water…and that increases the risk.”


Groups call for interim protection

While Health Canada has decided to investigate atrazine in surface water, Malas says that can take a year. The groups want Health Canada to speed up that process and, in the interim, to put restrictions on atrazine use and labelling.

“Particularly we’re concerned about vulnerable populations like children as well as farming communities. Those people live in areas where atrazine is being used,” says Malas.

“From scientific evidence we know that atrazine is linked to hormone disruption…One of the most adverse effects could be reproductive health issues…(like) fertility or birth outcomes.” That, he says, merits precautionary measures to protect Canadians’ health while the regulator undertakes this second review.

Categories: Environment, Health, Society
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2 comments on “Groups want restrictions on pesticide in drinking water
  1. Avatar Susan Thomas says:

    I am appalled by this decision to maintain atrazine in our drinking water.

  2. Avatar Bill says:

    So we need to wait until Atrazine levels in the drinking water reach an unsafe level before something is done. What ignorance!