Équiterre is launching a petition to ban atrazine, a synthetic herbicide banned in Europe over a decade ago, but still used and approved in Canada despite its many harmful effects on living organisms and the environment. Found in 98% of samples taken from rivers in corn-growing areas by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, atrazine is one of the most frequently detected pesticides in surface waters in Quebec.
The atrazine saga—a bit of history
Following a legal challenge by Équiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation in 2013 to force Ottawa to review the approval of over 380 pesticides containing 23 active ingredients, including many with links to cancer and water contamination, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is reviewing the approval of atrazine.
On December 15, the PMRA released a document for public consultation detailing its decision to reregister atrazine for sale and use in Canada, claiming that the pesticide does not “pose unacceptable risks to human health or the environment, with respect to drinking water, taking into account the current conditions of use.”
On February 12, Équiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation, supported by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and Environmental Defence, submitted a notice to the PMRA during public consultation on the matter. The organizations argue that the PMRA did not fully assess the risk of atrazine as it only assessed the risk for groundwater, a partial source of drinking water in Quebec. Most Quebecers rely on surface waters as a source of drinking water. The PMRA will make a final decision in March 2017.
Let’s pressure the federal health minister to ban this dangerous pesticide!
Sign the petition to ban atrazine and share it!The more numerous we are, the more we can achieve.
To learn more
- Atrazine has a range of impacts on living organisms:
- The herbicide is known to affect the endocrine system, which means that it can have an impact on the hormonal balance of an organism, therefore potentially affecting its growth, development and reproduction, for example.
- Children are more vulnerable to atrazine exposure, due to the role that the endocrine system plays in their development.
- A study lead by a researcher of the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale of France suggest that maternal exposure to atrazine may have an effect on the weight and head circumference of newborn infants.
- Atrazine has adverse effects on amphibians. For example, a 2010 study at the University of California, Berkeley, found that after exposure to atrazine, 10% of adult male frogs displayed female sexual characteristics and 75% became sterile (chemical castration).
- Atrazine is a synthetic herbicide that is used mainly in corn farming;
- This pesticide has been banned in the European Union since 2004;
- Atrazine is one of the pesticides most frequently detected in surface waters in Quebec: it has been found in 98% of the samples taken from rivers in corn-growing areas by the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques