WASHINGTON — The US Environmental Protection Agency announced on October 7 the that they will launch a comprehensive new evaluation of atrazine, one of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, to determine its effects on humans. The EPA’s plan calls for a September 2010 presentation of its evaluation, at which time the agency will seek peer review.
Atrazine is listed as a primary drinking water contaminant by the EPA. The agency now sets the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of atrazine in drinking water at 3 parts per billion (ppb) (3 micrograms per liter), but it adds that levels in excess of that pose health risks over a long period. On its Web site, the agency says, “An occasional peak concentration above 3 ppb is, therefore, not cause for concern. Rather, a long-term, consistent value above a yearly average of 3 ppb would be of concern.”
A recent investigation by The New York Times found that levels of atrazine, often applied before and after planting to control broadleaf and grassy weeds, have spiked well above the allowable maximum in many public water systems, sometimes for as much as a month at a time, but few water systems have reported those occurrences.
So it looks like Atrazine could follow in Arsenic’s footsteps, which ended up having it’s “Allowable Limit” lowered from 50ppb to 10ppb. It makes you wonder what will be allowed 10, or 20 years from now. What was once considered safe could be considered dangerous.
Yet another reason to bathe and drink the purest water you can.