Tag Archives: atrazine

Judge gives preliminary approval to atrazine settlement

Click here for an update on the proposed settlement agreement between Syngenta and community water systems…..Below are relevant details:

  • Syngenta would pay $105 million to pay the claims of the estimated 2000 CWSs who have experienced atrazine contamination, costs and attorneys fees.
  •  The settlement resolves the claims of CWSs raised in these lawsuits.  It will have no impact on any consumer’s ability to bring an action for personal injury as a result of ingestion of atrazine. It will also not prevent a CWS from bringing a lawsuit in connection with a point-source spill or against a farmer or applicator who used atrazine other than in accordance with the label instructions.
  • Any CWS that does not want to be bound to the terms of the settlement has until August 27 to exclude itself.
  • Every CWS that has ever found a measurable level of atrazine in its raw or finished water is eligible for payment.
  • Each CWS’s share will be determined based on their historical atrazine contamination levels, frequency of atrazine contamination, and population served.
  • Generally, CWSs that processed more water or frequently had high concentrations of atrazine will get more money; CWSs that processed less water or whose atrazine contamination was sporadic or limited will get less money.
  • All of the $105 million will be distributed – none will revert to Syngenta.
  • Public records and other data available to Plaintiffs’ attorneys show that approximately 2000 CWSs have detected atrazine in their water.
  • Each of these systems will receive direct mail notice of the settlement.
  • Additionally, notice of the settlement will be published in three magazines that are widely read by those responsible for managing potentially-affected CWSs.
  • CWSs will have all summer, until August 27, to test their water and submit their claims.
  • To make a claim, a CWS will go to a settlement website (atrazinesettlement.com) that already contains all atrazine test results obtained by Plaintiffs’ attorneys, confirm its accuracy, and click a button to submit its claim. If the CWS has additional testing results, it can upload those test results through the website.

Syngenta to pay $105 Million in atrazine settlement

Swiss chemical company Syngenta has agreed to pay $105 million to settle a nearly 8-year-old lawsuit over atrazine. 

The proposed deal announced by Syngenta must be approved by a federal judge in southern Illinois. Community water systems from at least a half-dozen states have sought to have the company reimburse them for removing weed-killing atrazine from their supplies.

1,887 community water systems serving more than 52 million Americans may be eligible to make a claim.

Click here for news article.

Rinsky et al 2012: Atrazine exposure in public drinking water and preterm birth

Rinsky JL, Hopenhayn C, Golla V, Browning S, Bush HM. Atrazine exposure in public drinking water and preterm birth. Public Health Rep. 2012 Jan-Feb;127(1):72-80.

OBJECTIVES: Approximately 13% of all births occur prior to 37 weeks gestation in the U.S. Some established risk factors exist for preterm birth, but the etiology remains largely unknown. Recent studies have suggested an association with environmental exposures. We examined the relationship between preterm birth and exposure to a commonly used herbicide, atrazine, in drinking water.

METHODS: We reviewed Kentucky birth certificate data for 2004-2006 to collect duration of pregnancy and other individual-level covariates. We assessed existing data sources for atrazine levels in public drinking water for the years 2000-2008, classifying maternal county of residence into three atrazine exposure groups. We used logistic regression to analyze the relationship between atrazine exposure and preterm birth, controlling for maternal age, race/ethnicity, education, smoking, and prenatal care.

RESULTS: An increase in the odds of preterm birth was found for women residing in the counties included in the highest atrazine exposure group compared with women residing in counties in the lowest exposure group, while controlling for covariates. Analyses using the three exposure assessment approaches produced odds ratios ranging from 1.20 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14, 1.27) to 1.26 (95% CI 1.19, 1.32), for the highest compared with the lowest exposure group.

CONCLUSIONS: Suboptimal characterization of environmental exposure and variables of interest limited the analytical options of this study. Still, our findings suggest a positive association between atrazine and preterm birth, and illustrate the need for an improved assessment of environmental exposures to accurately address this important public health issue.


Chevrier et al 2011: Urinary Biomarkers of Prenatal Atrazine Exposure and Adverse Birth Outcomes in the PELAGIE Birth Cohort

C. Chevrier, G. Limon, C. Monfort, F. Rouget, R. Garlantézec, C. Petit, G. Durand, S. Cordier. Urinary Biomarkers of Prenatal Atrazine Exposure and Adverse Birth Outcomes in the PELAGIE Birth Cohort. Environmental Health Perspectives, 119(7):1034-1041.

Background: Despite evidence of atrazine toxicity in developing organisms from experimental studies, few studies—and fewer epidemiologic investigations—have examined the potential effects of prenatal exposure.

Objectives: We assessed the association between adverse birth outcomes and urinary biomarkers of prenatal atrazine exposure, while taking into account exposures to other herbicides used on corn crops (simazine, alachlor, metolachlor, and acetochlor).

Methods: This study used a case-cohort design nested in a prospective birth cohort conducted in the Brittany region of France from 2002 through 2006. We collected maternal urine samples to examine pesticide exposure biomarkers before the 19th week of gestation.

Results: We found quantifiable levels of atrazine or atrazine mercapturate in urine samples from 5.5% of 579 pregnant women, and dealkylated and identified hydroxylated triazine metabolites in 20% and 40% of samples, respectively. The presence versus absence of quantifiable levels of atrazine or a specific atrazine metabolite was associated with fetal growth restriction [odds ratio (OR) = 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0–2.2] and small head circumference for sex and gestational age (OR = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0–2.7). Associations with major congenital anomalies were not evident with atrazine or its specific metabolites. Head circumference was inversely associated with the presence of quantifiable urinary metolachlor.

Conclusions: This study is the first to assess associations of birth outcomes with multiple urinary biomarkers of exposure to triazine and chloroacetanilide herbicides. Evidence of associations with adverse birth outcomes raises particular concerns for countries where atrazine is still in use.

Click here for the full paper (free).


Cragin et al 2011: Menstrual cycle characteristics and reproductive hormone levels in women exposed to atrazine in drinking water

This study, despite the typical limitations, has received some press (click here).

L.A. Cragin, J.S. Kesner, A.M. Bachand, D.B. Barr, J.W. Meadows, E.F. Krieg, and J.S. Reif Menstrual cycle characteristics and reproductive hormone levels in women exposed to atrazine in drinking water. Environmental Research 2011 Nov;111(8):1293-301.

Abstract: Atrazine is the most commonly used herbicide in the U.S. and a wide-spread groundwater contaminant. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence exists that atrazine disrupts reproductive health and hormone secretion. We examined the relationship between exposure to atrazine in drinking water and menstrual cycle function including reproductive hormone levels. Women 18-40 years old residing in agricultural communities where atrazine is used extensively (Illinois) and sparingly (Vermont) answered a questionnaire (n=102), maintained menstrual cycle diaries (n=67), and provided daily urine samples for analyses of luteinizing hormone (LH), and estradiol and progesterone metabolites (n=35). Markers of exposures included state of residence, atrazine and chlorotriazine concentrations in tap water, municipal water and urine, and estimated dose from water consumption. Women who lived in Illinois were more likely to report menstrual cycle length irregularity (odds ratio (OR)=4.69; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.58-13.95) and more than 6 weeks between periods (OR=6.16; 95% CI: 1.29-29.38) than those who lived in Vermont. Consumption of >2 cups of unfiltered Illinois water daily was associated with increased risk of irregular periods (OR=5.73; 95% CI: 1.58-20.77). Estimated “dose” of atrazine and chlorotriazine from tap water was inversely related to mean mid-luteal estradiol metabolite. Atrazine “dose” from municipal concentrations was directly related to follicular phase length and inversely related to mean mid-luteal progesterone metabolite levels. We present preliminary evidence that atrazine exposure, at levels below the US EPA MCL, is associated with increased menstrual cycle irregularity, longer follicular phases, and decreased levels of menstrual cycle endocrine biomarkers of infertile ovulatory cycles.

Click here for full paper (fee).