The Dangers of Atrazine in Tap Water

Your tap water should be safe for you and your family to drink, no matter where you live. Unfortunately, some chemicals and harmful agents can make their way into your drinking water and cause serious long-term effects. That’s why you should educate yourself on water regulations and harmful chemicals, so you know what goes into your body. At Hague Quality Water of Maryland, we understand the importance of having access to clean water, which is why we perform water tests to help you better understand the quality of your water.

What is Atrazine?

Atrazine is a chemical herbicide used to kill weeds on sugar canes, corn, and other industrial crops. The chemical reduces the loss of crops, and it is one of the most heavily used agents in our agriculture. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 70 to 80 million pounds of atrazine were used annually as of 2014.

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act limits the amount of atrazine that can appear in state water systems. However, some scientists claim that the legal limit is still too high and poses a public health risk. Atrazine is banned in Europe, but there are few restrictions on its use in the United States.

How Does Atrazine Affect Human Health?

According to a 1996 study by the World Health Organization, atrazine can show up in the air and water after the chemical has been applied to agricultural areas. By studying different animals, the World Health Organization found that:

  • After acute exposure, atrazine moderately irritates rabbit skin.
  • After short-term exposure, atrazine affects the concentration of prolactin, progesterone, and estrogen in female rats.
  • After long-term exposure to atrazine, dogs showed signs of cardiac toxicity.
  • Female rats had reduced levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells after long-term exposure.

While we know about some effects of atrazine on people, more research is necessary to understand the full scope of the chemical’s impact. For humans, long-term consumption of atrazine has been linked to:

  • Hormonal irregularities. Women may have low estrogen levels and irregular menstrual flow.
  • Potential birth defects. Even small amounts of atrazine may lead to misshapen limbs, low birth weights in newborns, and skill and facial malformations.
  • Chronic health effects. Lifetime exposure to high levels of atrazine could lead to heart damage, mammary tumors, weight loss, and muscle degeneration. Atrazine may also impair the immune system when it interacts with other chemicals.

A few scientific studies link atrazine to poor birth outcomes with prenatal exposure. One study reported an increased risk of reproductive harm when atrazine is paired with other environmental and genetic factors. The highest levels of pesticides occur between April and July. To protect yourself and your loved ones from atrazine contaminated water, the professionals at Hague Quality Water of Maryland are here to help you find the perfect water filtration system for your home.


Who Monitors Atrazine Levels?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assesses atrazine levels in streams and watersheds with the Atrazine Ecological Exposure Monitoring Program. As of 2003, the program regulates atrazine in areas that produce corn, sorghum, and sugarcane.

If a watershed has levels above 10 ppb, the program registrants must engage in exposure mitigation activities. These activities include:

  • Education
  • Stewardship and outreach programs
  • Grower and distributor surveys

The EPA publishes data collected from this program on its website annually. The EPA posted the latest atrazine regulatory update in October of 2019. However, some specialists encourage individuals to monitor their drinking water on their own and assess the risk for themselves.

Ways to Remove Atrazine in Drinking Water

A private well treatment can control chemical levels in your drinking water. You can get a water treatment system to remove toxic agents and increase your tap water quality. If you have untreated water, you should test it at least once every three years.

Whole house water treatment can give you cleaner laundry, better tasting food and drinks, and improve your hair and skin. To get these benefits and more, contact Hague Quality Water of Maryland to learn more about our water treatment options, including the Hague WaterMax® treatment system. We can be reached at (410) 757-2992 so you can find out what’s coming out of your tap.

NOTE: Free water tests are for new customers to determine water quality and treatment solutions.

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