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Atrazine Herbicide Investigation Essay

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Updated: May 28th, 2021

Recent research shows that atrazine might result in the complete feminization or even chemical castration of various kinds of animals that live in the areas where this herbicide is used (Hayes et al. 4612). For this reason, questions about the harm done by this substance to the environment, its impact on drinking water supply, and peoples health acquire the top priority today. Being one of the most commonly applied pesticides in the world, atrazine could trigger the development of numerous undesired processes that would significantly deteriorate the health of the nation and pollute the environment (Hayes et al. 4612).

Atrazine is a herbicide that belongs to the triazine class and is widely used to prevent the appearance and development of broadleaf weeds in maize, sugarcane, etc. (Hayes et al. 4612). However, there are numerous concerns related to the use of this substance in the agricultural sector. The fact is that atrazine remains in soil for a term from one month to 4 years and can move to groundwaters (Hayes et al. 4613). At the moment, it is banned in the European Union; however, several states still hesitate to do it. For this reason, its further use in countries like the USA or Australia is discussed.

Nevertheless, comprehensive investigation of atrazine and its impact on the environment and drinking water supply shows that in many countries that use this herbicide in their agricultural sector, the substance has been found in ground and drinking water (Ackerman 441). It means that atrazine demonstrates the ability to be degraded by microorganisms (Ackerman 441). Being consumed by the groundwater, it can remain there for a long period and deteriorate its quality significantly. Investigations show that animals or human beings who consume this water acquire the risk of the development of ovarian neoplasia and other significant health problems (Villanueva et al. 405). For this reason, towns located in areas where atrazine is used have a nagging problem of drinking water supply as it becomes contaminated by the herbicide. In such a way, there is a necessity to introduce additional measures to control the quality of water.

Another in-depth investigation of atrazine and its impact on wildlife shows that controlled animals living in the area where this herbicide is used had significant anomalies in their sexual development and maturity. The majority of males lost their reproductive ability, which evidences chemical castration under the impact of atrazine (Hayes et al. 4612). These findings prove the negative impact the substance has on the animal world.

As for the effects of atrazine on human health, a research paper shows that people who constantly drink water that contains this herbicide are subjected to the reduction of the reproductive function (Hayes et al. 4612). Moreover, such problems as low fetal weight and heart, urinary, and limb defects are reported (Villanueva et al. 405).

Regarding this information and the apparent evidence of the pernicious impact of atrazine on the state of the health of people and wildlife, its total ban in all countries is critical. It could be a difficult challenge to Australian farmers who use atrazine as a 6% loss in corns could be predicted, and significant economic risks will emerge (Villanueva et al. 404). However, it could be considered an acceptable outcome as the mitigation of the negative impact of this herbicide on human health will cost much higher than a decrease in yield.

Works Cited

Ackerman, Frank. “The Economics of Atrazine.” International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, vol. 13, 2007, pp. 441-449.

Hayes, Tyrone, et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 107, no. 10, pp. 4612-4617, Web.

Villanueva, Carla et al. “Atrazine in Municipal Drinking Water and Risk of Low Birth Weight, Preterm Delivery, and Small-for-Gestational-Age Status.” Occupational Environmental Medicine, vol. 62, 2005, pp. 400-405.

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