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Published March 16, 2010, 08:28 AM

Environmental group seeks stricter rules for atrazine

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy is urging state and federal agencies to strengthen regulations for a heavily used agricultural chemical because scientific studies have found that atrazine-contaminated water increases the risk for birth defects and developmental problems for infants.

By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy is urging state and federal agencies to strengthen regulations for a heavily used agricultural chemical because scientific studies have found that atrazine-contaminated water increases the risk for birth defects and developmental problems for infants.

In comments submitted last week to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, MCEA Public Health Scientist Samuel Yamin disagreed with conclusions of the report released in January by that agency, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The report concluded no changes were needed in the state’s regulations of atrazine, a corn herbicide that is banned in Europe.

The drinking water limit should be adjusted downward to ensure the public’s health is protected, according to the MCEA comments.

“A growing body of scientific evidence links atrazine-contaminated water to impacts on the most susceptible groups of people: infants, pregnant women and fetuses,” Yamin said. “The developmental impacts and birth defects linked to atrazine in these studies are serious, costly and wholly preventable. A dangerous trend has emerged in the scientific data. MCEA is calling upon regulatory agencies to take these warning signs seriously and act immediately to protect public health.”

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