News / USA

Public Hearings on Popular Pesticide Spotlight Safety Concerns

Public Hearings on Popular Pesticide Spotlight Safety Concernsi
|| 0:00:00
X
Zulima Palacio
June 25, 2012
Responding to pressure from environmental groups and the requirements of regulators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a scientific advisory panel have held public hearings on the risks of atrazine, an agricultural pesticide. It's the most commonly used farm chemical in the U.S. and 90 other countries. Atrazine has been banned by the European Union since 2004, and some studies suggest it may be harmful to human health and the environment. VOA Zulima Palacio has the story.

Public hearings on popular pesticide spotlight safety concerns

TEXT SIZE - +
Zulima Palacio
Responding to pressure from environmental groups and the requirements of regulators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  and a scientific advisory panel have held public hearings on the risks of atrazine, an agricultural pesticide.  It's the most commonly used farm chemical in the U.S. and 90 other countries. Atrazine has been banned by the European Union since 2004, and some studies suggest it may be harmful to human health and the environment.

Every year, U.S. farmers apply more than 35 million kilograms of the pesticide atrazine on their fields of corn, sugarcane, sorghum and other crops.

But a growing body of scientific evidence - including the discovery of small amounts of atrazine in many US waterways - have raised new concerns about its safety.
 
Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, convened a scientific advisory panel and held public hearings to review the impact of atrazine on humans and the environment.  

"There is probably agreement among everyone that, at a high enough exposure, at a high enough dose, atrazine can cause effects," said Steven Bradbury, the EPA's director of pesticide programs.

During four days of hearings, scientists and activists offered conflicting views on the safety of atrazine.
 
Kerry Kriger heads Save the Frogs, an environmental group.

He said at least 2,000 amphibian species are threatened with extinction.  

"The vast majority of the world's amphibian biologists agree that atrazine is extremely harmful to amphibians.  Abundant scientific literature from labs around the world has demonstrated atrazine's harmful effect on an array of wild life," he said.  

Kriger said the adverse effects on frogs include infertility, miscarriages and weakened immune systems.

But Syngenta, the main producer of atrazine, says the chemical is safe, and the company sent several of its scientists to the hearings to make that case.    

Keith Solomon was one of them.  "There is no strong evidence supporting a causal relationship between exposure to atrazine and adverse effects in amphibians and if you want, include fish and reptiles, as well you could," he said.

Government scientists also presented evidence suggesting that atrazine may be more toxic to plants than to animals.

"In the case of effects on aquatic ecosystems, the peer review was looking at what is the potential effect of atrazine on aquatic plants and aquatic plants' community structure, sort of like the house for the whole ecological system," Bradbury said.

Atrazine's license is up for federal renewal next year.

The advisory panel has three months to present its recommendations to the US government.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid