What is Atrazine and Why is it in My Family’s Drinking Water?

Part II in our series on contaminated drinking water:

Hello Mommies and Daddies. Thank you for joining me today!  My previous post was the first in a series discussing our country’s contaminated drinking water supply.  It addressed issues surrounding fluoride in our water.  If you missed it, please click here to get caught up!  Today, let’s take a look at another toxin found in our drinking water: atrazine.

What is Atrazine?

First, let’s talk about what atrazine is.  Atrazine is an herbicide produced by a major U.S. agribusiness called Syngenta.  It is used by farmers to kill weeds.  It is also used by commercial and residential landowners to maintain their properties.  Atrazine has a stable chemical structure that gives it a long half-life.  This means that, once atrazine is sprayed into the environment, it sticks around for a very long time.

After atrazine is sprayed, it gets absorbed into the ground and enters the water supply.  Despite treatment of water at the local level, the US Natural Resources Defense Council found that 80% of local water systems contained atrazine.  And 65% of those samples exceeded the maximum allowable concentration.

Is atrazine harmful to me and my family?

Yes!  Atrazine exposure causes a number of very serious health effects. 

Atrazine is an endocrine disrupting compound (EDC).  EDCs are chemicals that alter the normal, healthy function of the human endocrine system. And it is your endocrine system that is responsible for maintaining a healthy balance within your body.

For example, your thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone which is essential for the proper running of your body.  Without normal thyroid function, your body would literally slow to a crawl and then STOP!  Obviously not good! 

Other glands that are part of the endocrine system are the pancreas, the testicles, the ovaries, the adrenals, the pineal gland and many more.  You can see from this list that having a properly functioning endocrine system is crucial for our well-being as humans.

Some of the health consequences of having your endocrine system disrupted by ingesting atrazine are infertility, preterm birth, birth defects in children whose mothers were exposed to atrazine, miscarriage, menstrual irregularities, and feminization of males. 

Other health consequences of atrazine exposure are liver damage, kidney dysfunction and heart disease.  No definitive link has been shown between atrazine and cancer, but most scientists who study the substance believe atrazine to be cancer-causing.

Solutions:

As you know, we always discuss solutions here. 

I, like most of us, think that in America 2021, you should simply be able to turn on your tap and drink the lovely, clean, flowing water.  Unfortunately, this is most certainly not true.  Whether you get your water from a contaminated well or you are on a municipal water supply, the water coming out of your tap likely has levels of atrazine that are unacceptable for your family.

So please, unless you live in a very remote, clean area, like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or remote Alaska, do not drink your tap water.  This is especially important for pregnant women.  Remember that atrazine causes miscarriage and birth defects. 

Three solutions for avoiding tap water are buying bottled spring water, using a good water filtration system and using a reverse osmosis system.  The water systems I recommend are Epic Water Filters, Sagan Life Systems, WaterDrop Filters and Berkey Filters.  Each of these brands offers products that will provide your family with truly clean, healthy water to enjoy. 

Remember that clean drinking water is not only important at home.  When your child goes to school or to the park, make sure to send them with enough clean water.  Don’t let them drink out of those nasty drinking fountains!

What about food grown in atrazine-contaminated soil?

While this post is primarily a discussion on contaminated drinking water supplies, please remember that food grown with the use of herbicides, like atrazine, will cause the same ill-health effects as contaminated water.  Food grown using organic farming techniques does not get exposed to herbicides. And, if you are a keen shopper, you can find organic food that is priced competitively with its non-organic equivalents.  More to come on organic food in a future post…

For now, let me say thank you again for reading with me today!  Please enter your email address below to subscribe to my blog which will allow my new postings to come directly to your inbox.  Also please share my Facebook page, YouTube videos and Instagram account with your friends and family.  My goal is to share important scientific information with as many parents as possible to help them raise happy, healthy children!

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