In a first-ever nationwide assessment, the Environmental Protection Agency found the pesticide atrazine harms more than 1,000 endangered plans and animals. The analysis, which was required by the Endangered Species Act, came just two months after the EPA re-approved the endocrine-disrupting pesticide for an additional 15 years.
Atrazine, which is banned in more than 35 countries worldwide, pollutes groundwater and drinking water, is linked to cancer and reproductive issues, and “can chemically castrate male frogs at extremely low concentrations, including those allowed in drinking water,” according to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity.
“With this troubling finding, even the EPA has been forced to acknowledge the unacceptable harm caused by atrazine,” Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “It’s beyond me how it can still be approved for such widespread use across this country.”
The pesticide, which is made by Syngenta, is the second most used pesticide after glyphosate, but, according to the assessment, atrazine is harmful to 1,013 protected species including the endangered whooping crane, California red-legged frog and San Joaquin kit fox.
“Finally the EPA has been forced to acknowledge atrazine’s far-reaching harms,” Donley said. “This alarming assessment leaves no doubt that this hideously dangerous pesticide should be banned in the U.S., just as it is across much of the world.”
While the EPA made major changes to atrazine’s use restrictions in September—banning the pesticide in Hawaii, on forests, on Christmas tree farms and along roadsides—the harm done to endangered species outside the proposed ban areas was nearly 100%, according to a press release from the Center of Biological Diversity.
The Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity and a coalition of public-interest groups sued the EPA last week over the EPA’s decision to re-approve atrazine for the next 15 years.