Atrazine is an herbicide that was first used in the United States in 1959 and has since been used widely on farms to fight weeds in corn, grain, and other crops. Although its primary use is in corn fields, it has also been used on sod farms and residential lawns in the southern United States.
Current regulation requires that a set amount of atrazine may be applied to crops and must be applied by a certified pesticide applicator. The Environmental Protection Agency requires that the designated amount be indicated on the labeling of all products that contain atrazine.
Farmers and pesticide applicators have the highest risk of being exposed to atrazine, as well as individuals that may reside in the same home with applicators. Individuals who live on farms are also at risk of being exposed to atrazine through well water. Atrazine breaks down slower in water and therefore may remain in water longer than in soil where breakdown can occur from a period of days to months.
Atrazine is not known to accumulate in fish or other food sources and is rarely found in food samples, when found it is usually at very low levels. Many studies found that animals exposed to atrazine and organophosphates had liver, kidney, and endocrine system disruptions, but it is unknown if similar effects may occur in humans.[1-3] However, it may be useful to evaluate atrazine exposure with other pesticides to identify multiple exposures as they are often used together and may cause cumulative effects. For this reason, Metametrix has added atrazine as an analyte in our Organophosphates profile.
The Organophosphates profile was developed to identify prolonged exposure to organophosphate pesticides that have been shown to cause serious health problems. Our expanded focus on atrazine is a progressive step in understanding and treating the often dangerous impact of pesticides in aggregate.
~ Christie Egeston, MS
- Rey F, Gonzalez M, Zayas MA, et al. Prenatal exposure to pesticides disrupts testicular histoarchitecture and alters testosterone levels in male Caiman latirostris. General and comparative endocrinology. Jul 2009;162(3):286-292.
- Roses N, Poquet M, Munoz I. Behavioural and histological effects of atrazine on freshwater molluscs (Physa acuta Drap. and Ancylus fluviatilis Mull. Gastropoda). Journal of applied toxicology : JAT. Sep-Oct 1999;19(5):351-356.
- Powell ER, Faldladdin N, Rand AD, Pelzer D, Schrunk EM, Dhanwada KR. Atrazine exposure leads to altered growth of HepG2 cells. Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA. Apr 2011;25(3):644-651.