According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, 85% of all food products in the USA are contaminated with dangerous pesticides, capable of causing ill-health in humans
Just 15 percent of all food samples tested in a 2015 study were free from pesticide residues – a dramatic 26 percent reduction from a similar 2014 study.
Scientists at the USDA have warned that the U.S. food supply is becoming increasingly poisoned by the overuse of pesticides and warn that future studies may reveal that all foods contain pesticides in the very near future.
If it wasn’t for Roundup, atrazine would probably be the most controversial herbicide on the planet,” Chris Clarke writes. “It’s the pesticide most commonly found as a runoff contaminant in rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands.
It can travel hundreds of miles on airborne dust from the farm fields where it’s applied in order to contaminate those wetlands, and can persist for decades once it gets there.
It’s been linked to reproductive abnormalities in frogs, hormonal changes in alligators, and serious harm to other wildlife populations. And it can even promote fungal diseases in the soil by killing off beneficial fungi while leaving the pathogens.
Atrazine Is a Potent Health Hazard
Atrazine is the most common water contaminant in the U.S., where it was initially approved for use in 1958. It’s been banned in Europe since 2005, and groundwater contamination was, in fact, one of the determining factors behind this decision.
An estimated 70 million pounds of atrazine are applied to agricultural fields in the U.S. each year, the vast majority of it being used on corn.
Independent research shows atrazine causes hermaphroditism in frogs (turning males into egg-laying females) by inducing an enzyme called aromatase, which causes overproduction of estrogen. For this reason, atrazine is also suspected of contributing to breast cancer. Research has also shown atrazine:
- Blocks testosterone production
- Is a potent endocrine disruptor
- Chemically castrates wildlife and causes sexual reproductive problems in a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds, fish and amphibians
- Induces miscarriage in laboratory rodents
- Reduces immune function in animals
Studies looking at human cells and tissues suggest the chemical likely poses similar threats to human health. For example, one study linked atrazine exposure in utero to impaired sexual development in young boys, causing genital deformations, including microphallus (micropenis).
The evidence also suggests atrazine exposure may contribute to a number of different cancers, specifically breast cancer, ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia and thyroid cancer.
Elevated concentrations of atrazine in drinking water have also been associated with birth defects in the human population, including abdominal defects, gastroschisis (in which the baby’s intestines stick outside of the baby’s body) and others.
Bee-Killing Pesticides Contaminate Drinking Water
Neonicotinoids, pesticides linked to bee die-offs around the world, are another water contaminant Americans have to contend with. Water testing by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2015 showed neonicotinoids are present in more than half of all streams tested.
Similar findings were recently made in Switzerland by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. There, watercourses were found to be contaminated with 128 different agricultural chemicals: 61 herbicides, 45 fungicides and 22 insecticides.
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