Weed Killers By The Glass
Friday, September 1, 1995

Weed Killers By The Glass

Beginning on May 15, 1995, a network of environmental organizations began testing tap water for weed killers in cities across the U.S. Corn Belt, in Louisiana, and in Maryland.

Samples were collected every three days from people's homes or offices. Samples collected were sent to the Iowa State Hygienic Lab and analyzed for the presence of atrazine and cyanazine, two of the most heavily used pesticides in all of the United States.

On or about the first day of June and July, larger samples were taken from the same locations and more extensively tested for 11 weed killers and their by-products.

The purpose of this study is to inform the debate and fill current gaps in knowledge about the extent and magnitude of tap water contamination with weed killers, including the severity and duration of peak levels of exposure that routinely exceed federal health standards during the three- to four-month peak runoff period.

The results of these tests reveal widespread contamination of tap water with many different pesticides at levels that present serious health risks.

Major Agricultural Weed Killers are Routinely Found in Tap Water at Levels that Exceed Federal Health Standards.

EPA's Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) level for the herbicide cyanazine was exceeded at least once in 18 out of 29 cities (62 percent) with a total population of 4.48 million people, 60 percent of the population covered in the study. The herbicide atrazine exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) at least once in 13 communities with a total population of 2.98 million people, representing 43% of the cities, and 40% of the population in the study. Cyanazine levels exceeded federal health guidelines in 35 percent of all samples. Atrazine concentrations were above the federal health standards in 17 percent of all samples (Table 1).

In some cities, herbicides in tap water exceed federal health standards for weeks or months at a time. In Springfield, IL, cyanazine exceeded the LHA in all tap water samples collected between May 27 and June 29. In eight other cities more than half of the samples collected exceeded the atrazine MCL or the cyanazine LHA: Danville and Decatur, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Columbus and Bowling Green, Ohio; Jefferson City, MO; New Orleans, LA; and Kansas City, KS.

Some samples and locations were severely contaminated. Six samples from Danville, IL contained cyanazine at levels more than 10 times the LHA, and one sample contained cyanazine at 34 times the LHA. All nine samples with the highest cyanazine concentrations came from Danville, followed by water from Kansas City, KS; Decatur, IL; Fort Wayne, IN; and Omaha, NE.

The highest atrazine concentration -- 18 ppb, more than 6 times the MCL -- was also found in Danville, IL, as were the next five samples with the highest atrazine concentrations. The communities with the next four highest atrazine detections, all above the MCL, were Fort Wayne, IN; Bowling Green and Columbus, OH; and Kansas City, KS.

Weed Killers Were Found in the Tap Water of 28 out of 29 cities.

Atrazine was found in tap water in 28 out of 29 cities tested (97 percent), cyanazine was found in 25 (86 percent), metolachlor in 19 cities (66 percent), acetochlor in 15 (52 percent), alachlor in 10 cities (34 percent), simazine in four (14 percent), and metribuzin in two cities (7 percent). One of two breakdown products (known as metabolites) of atrazine, desethylatrazine and desisopropylatrazine, was found in 12 communities. The only community where weed killers were not found in the drinking water was Memphis, TN, which obtains its tap water from deep groundwater wells.

Most of these herbicides have been used in agriculture for decades. However, our study also found trace levels of the herbicide acetochlor, a probable human carcinogen, approved for use in 1993.

Average Levels of Weed Killers in Tap Water Exceeded Federal Standards in 13 Cities.

Average cyanazine levels in tap water over the six-week testing period exceeded the LHA in 13 cities with a population of 2.8 million people. Average atrazine levels in drinking water during the same period exceeded the federal MCL in six of these same 13 cities, including Indianapolis IN; Columbus OH; and Fort Wayne IN.

People in Many Midwestern Cities Are Routinely Exposed to Many Different Pesticides in a Single Glass of Water.

Tap water from two-thirds of the cities tested contained between four and nine pesticides or pesticide by-products. Current EPA drinking water standards are set one chemical at a time and assume that this simultaneous exposure does not occur.

Two or more pesticides or pesticide metabolites were found simultaneously in the drinking water of 27 out of 29 cities, three or more pesticides were found in 23 cities, four or more pesticides in 21 cities, five or more pesticides in 18 cities, six or more pesticides in 14 cities, and seven or more pesticides or metabolites in the treated tap water of five cities: Ft. Wayne, IN; Muncie, IN; Danville, IL; Columbus, OH; and Bowling Green, OH. In Fort Wayne, IN, nine different pesticides and metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, metribuzin, acetochlor, desethyl-atrazine, desisopropylatrazine, and simazine -- were found in a single sample of tap water collected in June, 1995. Three of these pesticides were found at levels above EPA standards. The nine pesticides included two probable human carcinogens, five possible human carcinogens, one pesticide responsible for birth defects, and four pesticides that disrupt the hormone or endocrine system.

Infants and Children are Exposed to Unsafe Levels and Mixtures of Pesticides in Infant Formula, Juices, and Drinks Reconstituted with Tap Water.

Drinking water standards do not account for the vulnerability of infants to toxic chemicals such as the weed killers found in our tests. Standards also fail to account for the high volume of water young children drink relative to adults.

We estimate that 45,000 infants in 29 cities drank infant formula reconstituted with tap water contaminated with weed killers during the six-week study period. More than 10,000 infants drank infant formula made with tap water with an average atrazine contamination level above the EPA standard for the six-week period. These same 10,000, plus an additional 8,400 infants, drank infant formula made with tap water contaminated with cyanazine at levels above the federal LHA.

An estimated 28,000 infants drank infant formula reconstituted with tap water that was contaminated with at least four and as many as nine pesticides and toxic pesticide by-products during the six week testing period.

Conclusions

Federal Drinking Water Monitoring Requirements are Fundamentally Flawed.

Federal drinking water monitoring requirements provide regulators and public health officials with a fundamentally distorted picture of contamination levels in tap water. Extended periods of exposure to contaminants at levels above federal health standards are not identified by federal monitoring requirements, nor are peak exposures that may exceed these standards by 10-fold to 30-fold or more.

Within the peak contamination period, extended and repeated exposure to weed killers at levels above federal health standards is common in the cities where we tested. Federal monitoring requirements, in contrast, treat all seasons the same and mandate only one sample during each quarter of the year, including the three-month peak contamination period. Even this lone sample can be taken very early in the spring-summer quarter, before herbicides are applied, or very late, after pesticides have largely flushed downstream. A sample taken at either end of this period will not reflect accurately the degree of the contamination.

Moreover, there is no monitoring requirement for so-called "unregulated contaminants" such as cyanazine, even though in our testing program cyanazine was found at levels exceeding federal health advisories more often than any other herbicide.

These failings are of particular concern because federal drinking water standards:

  • Do not protect the public from extended periods of exposure above the MCL or LHA;
  • Do not consider the risks of exposure to multiple herbicides simultaneously;
  • Do not explicitly take into account special risks to children;
  • Are based on a flawed methodology that does not adequately protect the public from cancer risks.

Actions and statements by many water utility authorities underscore the need to dramatically improve monitoring. The Kansas City, MO water system will not allow atrazine contamination to exceed EPA lifetime health standards for even one day; to achieve this goal they monitor drinking water daily during peak contamination periods (Flannery 1994). The American Water Works Association, which represents the majority of water utilities, noted in their comments to EPA on the atrazine special review that "AWWA is concerned with exceedances of any MCL at any time..." (AWWA 1995; emphasis in original).

Conventional Water Treatment Does Not Remove Weed Killers.

Following the release of an October, 1994 report by the Environmental Working Group (Tap Water Blues), many water utilities claimed that the standard water treatment techniques they were using were able to adequately remove herbicides from contaminated source water. This is not the case.

All of the water tested in this study was treated tap water. In most cases, utilities are using only conventional water treatment -- chlorination and sand filtration -- which does nothing to reduce weed killer levels in water delivered to the community.

The only technology that can adequately remove pesticides once they have contaminated water supplies is the more expensive Granular Activated Carbon. Such water treatment costs are passed on to water customers -- the polluters are not billed. Preventing contamination of drinking water with herbicides in the first place, by phasing out the most toxic compounds and reducing use of all pesticides, is the most efficient and effective means of ensuring the safety of our water supplies.

Recommendations

  • Parents in the most contaminated communities should seriously consider alternatives to tap water for infant formula, reconstituted juices or drinks for their infants and children from May 1 through August 30.

    The most contaminated cities identified in this study include:

    Danville, Decatur, Granite City and Springfield, Illinois
    Columbus and Bowling Green, Ohio
    Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Kansas City, Kansas
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    Omaha, Nebraska
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    All of these cities had average contamination levels that exceeded at least one federal health standard for the study period, with the exception of New Orleans, LA, which did not exceed any individual health standard for the period but had a combined triazine average contamination level above the atrazine MCL of 3 parts per billion.

  • The EPA should require daily monitoring for triazine herbicides with inexpensive immunoassay tests for all surface-water-supplied drinking water systems in the corn belt. The monitoring cost is about $1,500 per city; less than 10 cents per person in a city of 20,000.
  • The EPA should phase out the use of the triazine herbicides by September 1996.
  • Congress must strengthen federal pesticide and drinking water laws so that they explicitly protect infants and children from acute and chronic effects of these contaminants.
  • Absent Congressional action, the EPA should move to set pesticide and drinking water standards to protect infants and children.
  • When setting drinking water standards to protect infants and children the EPA must strictly follow the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Report, Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. At a minimum the EPA must specifically account for contamination of tap water with many different pesticides and metabolites. The agency (1) must explicitly account for additive or synergistic risks that may result from pesticides that act via a similar toxic mechanism or cause a similar toxic effect, (2) it must specifically account for any increased sensitivity or risk associated with infant or childhood exposure to these mixtures of compounds, and (3) it must consider all routes of exposure to the pesticides that a infant or child might encounter.

Table 1

 
 
           ATRAZINE            
            CYANAZINE           
City Population # Samples % Positive Average Conc. (ppb) % Above Fed. Std. High Conc. (ppb) % Positive Average Conc. (ppb) % Above Fed. Std. High Conc. (ppb)
Danville, IL 38,000 16 100 8.71 88 18.00 94 10.71 94 34.00
Decatur, IL 83,885 16 100 3.45 63 7.20 100 2.19 81 6.20
Columbus, OH 540,000 14 100 3.54 43 8.74 100 2.09 79 4.40
Indianapolis, IN 680,000 16 100 3.04 50 5.90 100 2.22 81 4.58
Ft. Wayne, IN 180,000 14 100 3.69 36 10.00 71 1.41 50 4.80
Bowling Green, OH 30,000 16 100 3.40 38 9.20 100 1.58 50 3.20
Springfield, IL 126,000 13 100 2.01 15 4.10 100 2.80 100 4.20
Kansas City, KS 150,000 16 100 2.93 44 7.40 100 1.96 56 6.40
Jefferson City, MO 34,000 14 100 2.13 14 4.40 100 1.14 50 3.00
New Orleans, LA 500,000 16 94 2.26 25 3.70 81 0.87 56 1.60
Omaha, NE 450,000 16 100 2.09 31 4.90 56 1.03 44 3.90
Topeka, KS 120,000 16 100 2.56 38 7.20 63 0.22 0 0.44
Granite City, IL 40,000 12 100 1.49 0 1.90 92 1.24 92 1.70
Iowa City, IA 50,000 16 100 1.66 0 2.80 100 0.89 44 1.50
St. Louis, MO 438,000 16 100 1.67 0 2.60 100 0.83 19 2.40
Johnson Co. WD 1, KS 225,000 8 100 1.45 0 1.90 100 1.00 50 1.50
Omaha (Platte), NE 225,000 12 100 0.85 0 2.90 83 1.09 25 4.60
Kansas City, MO 450,000 16 100 1.01 0 1.90 81 0.75 25 3.50
Richmond, IN 45,000 16 88 1.10 13 4.50 38 0.54 13 3.00
Lawrence, KS 65,000 9 100 1.49 22 4.50 22 0.11 0 0.50
Alliance, OH 25,000 12 100 1.03 0 1.50 50 0.16 0 0.40
Cedar Rapids, IA 110,000 16 100 0.64 0 1.30 25 0.11 0 0.85
Des Moines, IA 191,000 16 81 0.53 0 1.80 38 0.18 6 1.30
Davenport, IA 27,000 12 100 0.44 0 0.95 17 0.04 0 0.28
Akron, OH 280,000 11 91 0.30 0 0.46 9 0.03 0 0.35
Minneapolis, MN 385,000 12 58 0.11 0 0.24 17 0.05 0 0.31
Baltimore, MD 1,300,000 15 40 0.06 0 0.19 0 0.00 0 0.00
Muncie, IN 74,000 16 13 0.02 0 0.14 6 0.00 0 0.03
Memphis, TN 660,000 12 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00

Acknowledgments

This report was prepared in cooperation with the following organizations: Illinois Public Action, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Ohio Citizen Action, St. Louis Audubon Society, Audubon Society of Omaha, Quad Cities Audubon, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, Sierra Club Kansas Chapter, Concerned Citizens of Agriculture Street Landfill, Stop Polluting Illinois (SPILL), the Hoosier Environmental Council, Friends of the Mississippi River, Maryland Clean Water Action, and the Mississippi River Basin Alliance.

Special thanks to Eileen Gannon and Michael Shelhamer, who designed and produced the report, to Molly Evans who designed and produced the Web version, to Ed Hopkins and Suzi Wilkins for their assistance in coordinating participation in the project, and Allison Daly for help in coordinating the release of Weed Killers By The Glass. We are grateful to Ken Cook for his editing and insight.

Weed Killers By The Glass was made possible by grants from The Turner Foundation, The W. Alton Jones Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Florence and John Schumann Foundation, Alida R. Messinger, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Joyce Foundation, the National Campaign for Pesticide Policy Reform, and Working Assets Funding Service.. A computer equipment grant from the Apple Computer Corporation made our analysis possible. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts or other supporters listed above.

Foreword

The citizens of Springfield, Illinois woke up one morning this past May to front-page news that was mighty hard to swallow.

Under what can be charitably described as an understated headline in The State Journal-Register ("Chemical Imbalance In Water"), readers in the state capital learned that the agricultural weed killer atrazine "reached record levels in the outer reaches of Lake Springfield and could begin pouring into the city's water intake system as early as today."

Today? Talk about environmental wake up calls. This one would make you think twice about that second cup of coffee.

"We may be treating very high levels that we have not previously treated," Springfield water division manager Tom Skelly told a reporter. In a bar chart accompanying the article, atrazine levels above 12 parts per billion in the tributaries and the reservoir towered above the 3 parts per billion federal health standard.

But in fact, and through no fault of his own, Mr. Kelly could not have had the foggiest idea if the herbicide spritzer the water department was about to serve its customers was the strongest ever. Nor could the Illinois EPA. Nor could any other water utility or state or federal agency that we know of. The reason is simple. Until very recently, neither water utilities nor government agencies have been required to test for atrazine or other weed killers in tap water and make results available to the public.

Illinois, to its great credit, was the first state to fully implement a statewide program of surface water monitoring for herbicides, as mandated by Federal law. But they started only in January, 1992. And to its credit, Springfield's water department set up its own elaborate testing system. But that was in place beginning only in 1994.

Trouble is, atrazine was registered for use quite a while back by its Swiss manufacturer, the Ciba corporation. It was 1958, actually. Remember the year Elvis went into the army? And though it has been banned in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway and elsewhere, atrazine remains today the most widely used pesticide in "modern" U.S. agriculture. Nationwide, farmers sprayed over 72 million pounds of it in 1994, over 11 million in Illinois.

To say the least, the water testing part of this agrichemical revolution got started rather late. Residents of Springfield have been drinking atrazine in their coffee, in their infant formula, in their Kool-Aid, and in their reconstituted orange juice, and by gulps from their drinking fountains and straight from their taps for decades. A.G. Taylor, agricultural advisor with the Illinois EPA, said as much in the State Journal-Record that day: "We may have been consuming some of these chemicals for the past 25 years in varying concentrations, we don't know."

We don't know?

Farmers pour millions of pounds of a possible human carcinogen on Illinois cropland for several decades and we don't know how much of the stuff people have been drinking unawares? Certainly Springfield's residents didn't know until recently. What's more, we're still not sure that anyone has told them that atrazine is just one of the weed killers they've been drinking by the glass this year (and unquestionably for many years before).

Tests performed by a university laboratory, commissioned by the Environmental Working Group and presented in this study, found the herbicide cyanazine in Springfield tap water at concentrations above the federal health advisory level of 1 part per billion (ppb) in each of 13 samples taken between May 27 and June 29 of this year.

The "good news" is that the additional, emergency water treatment Springfield employed in 1995 (the second such emergency in as many years) knocked atrazine levels down below the 3 ppb federal health standard in all but one sample. The bad news: Our tests still found atrazine in every sample over that period at levels just below the federal atrazine standard. The combined load of atrazine and cyanazine in tapwater was over the respective, individual federal benchmarks every time. And in one sample on which broader analysis was performed, we found that on at least one day Springfield residents drank up to 4 weed killers or toxic by-products in their tap water. In fairness, that could be considered good news compared to, say, Danville, Illinois to the east, where a single tap water sample yielded seven pesticides.

Weed Killers By The Glass presents the results of a citizen tap water monitoring program undertaken by a network of environmental organizations in 29 cities throughout the American corn belt, and in New Orleans and Baltimore. The project found weed killers coming right out of the tap in 28 of the 29 cities sampled, at levels that routinely exceeded federal standards or health advisories.

The people who live in these cities, and in dozens of other corn belt towns where drinking water is laced with weed killers, should not have to drink any pesticides by the glass.

DuPont Chemical, maker of cyanazine, recently made an important and we think courageous contribution to solving the problem. Just weeks ago the company announced a voluntary phase-out of cyanazine, a product worth tens of millions of dollars to DuPont annually. Over the next few years the company will accelerate its marketing of newer, safer, cost-effective herbicides that farmers can apply at much lower levels after weeds appear in crop fields. Make no mistake, we believe the findings in this report justify an even faster phase-out of cyanazine. Nevertheless, DuPont's commitment to the future, not the past, of weed control, stands in sharp contrast to the retrograde stance of the Ciba corporation and other pesticide companies. They are mounting a major campaign to keep atrazine and other dangerous, outdated, high usage rate weed killers on the market--and in America's drinking water at even higher levels than they are now.

And they'll win, unless the EPA, Congress, mayors, governors, and water utilities hear otherwise from the serious drinkers in the crowd.

Kenneth A. Cook
President
Environmental Working Group

Introduction

The Safe Drinking Water Act amendments of 1986, which require the EPA to set drinking water standards for many pesticides, marked the beginning of the scientific community's focus on pesticides in drinking water as a threat to public health. Soon after these amendments went into effect, the first extensive national and regional studies of pesticides in ground and surface water began to define the scope of the problem.

By the early 1990s, numerous studies, primarily by scientists at the United States Geological Survey and in state environmental agencies, had found widespread evidence that commonly used corn and soybean herbicides were ubiquitous contaminants of water supplies. As early as September 1991, representatives of drinking water utilities requested that EPA place the herbicide atrazine into a special regulatory review, and impose mandatory use restrictions due to their concerns over the frequent appearance of atrazine in drinking water (Gloriod 1991).

In September 1994, the Environmental Working Group and Physicians for Social Responsibility released Tap Water Blues, the first-ever state-by-state, community-by-community analysis of the presence and adverse health impacts of pesticides in drinking water and source water for drinking water systems. The important findings of this study include:

1. Triazine herbicides such as atrazine, cyanazine, and simazine and acetanilide herbicides such as alachlor, metolachlor, and acetochlor contaminate virtually every surface-water-supplied, drinking water source in the Mississippi River basin.

EWG estimated that at least 11.7 million people in the Midwest and Louisiana drink water that is contaminated with a combination of these herbicides. This population includes hundreds of thousands of children who drink infant formula reconstituted with herbicide-contaminated water each day.

2. In late spring and early summer concen-trations of these herbicides in Mississippi River basin drinking water routinely exceed EPA's maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) and Lifetime Health Advisories (LHAs).

Results of finished tap water sampling in several states showed intermittent or sustained peak exposures well above federal health standards for atrazine and cyanazine.

3. Individuals are frequently exposed to multiple herbicides in a single glass of tap water.

Exposure to more than one pesticide is often the rule rather than the exception. Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in the Mississippi River basin found two or more pesticides in 87 percent of all water samples, and four or more pesticides in 41 percent of all samples (Goolsby, et al. 1993). In Illinois, more than one in three samples of finished drinking water samples collected in 1993 and 1994 contained multiple pesticides (Illinois EPA 1994). A total of 67 different pesticides, including 25 probable or possible human carcinogens, have been found in drinking water sources in the Midwest. None of these pesticides are removed by conventional water treatment.

4. Pesticide application rate reductions will not solve the drinking water contamination problem.

In 1993 the Environmental Protection Agency required that growers reduce the amount of atrazine applied to corn and other crops. These use reductions have had virtually no effect on total chemical use, and have done little or nothing to reduce drinking water contamination.

5. Farmers have alternatives to current use of hazardous herbicides.

Currently, almost all herbicide applications in corn are prophylactic and made with no assessment of weed or weed seed populations. University studies have found that in an average year, farmers lose money on 30 to 50 percent of all herbicide applications in the Corn Belt. And newer, safer alternatives -- the sulfonylurea herbicides -- are readily available to replace the more hazardous triazine and acetanilide herbicides, but are not being used.

Although scientists and water utilities have known for years that weed killers contaminate drinking water supplies and treated tap water throughout the Midwest, better information on contamination of treated tap water will greatly improve the ability of regulators and public health officials to accurately describe the health risks associated with peak runoff periods in the spring and early summer.

At the time of the release of Tap Water Blues, the best data available were typified by data from the state of Illinois, which for one year had monitored treated drinking water for herbicides in 113 cities and towns that rely on surface water for drinking water. These data showed unequivocally that weed killers are present in tap water in major corn growing areas, often at levels exceeding federal health standards. This information, however, is only as good as the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires, which means that only four quarterly samples were available for each town -- one sample during the peak contamination period.

The purpose of this study is to fill the gaps in knowledge so that regulators and the public may better understand the extent and nature of tap water contamination with atrazine and cyanazine, including the severity and duration of peak levels of exposure that routinely exceed federal health standards during the three- to four-month peak runoff period. Additional monthly analyses were performed to identify 11 other pesticides and pesticide by-products that contaminate tap water in the region.

Chapter 1.  Health Effects of Herbicides

The pesticides most frequently detected in drinking water -- the triazines and the acetanilides -- cause a litany of health effects, including cancer, birth defects, and disruption of the endocrine (hormone) system. The triazine herbicides (atrazine, cyanazine, simazine) cause mammary gland cancer in repeated studies in female rats through interference with the normal functioning of the hormone system. In press statements announcing its regulatory review of the triazines in November, 1994, EPA cited the possible relationship between triazine exposure and the increased rate of breast cancer in women as a reason for formal review of these weed killers (EPA 1994). Cyanazine is also a reproductive toxin, causing heritable genetic mutations in a number of tests, and birth defects in rabbits and rats.

The acetanilide herbicides (alachlor, acetochlor, metolachlor) cause a rare nasal turbinate cancer in animals. This cancer was initially classified as brain cancer, but was reclassified as nasal turbinate cancer after numerous industry appeals. Alachlor causes this rare cancer even when the animals are exposed only for the first six months of their lives, suggesting that infants may be at higher risk when they are exposed to alachlor in formula and juice reconstituted with alachlor-contaminated tap water. Two of the acetanilide herbicides, alachlor and the recently registered acetochlor, are classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens. Alachlor has also been found to disrupt the endocrine system.

On October 17, 1994, the day before the release of Tap Water Blues, EPA Administrator Carol Browner denied a request by Ciba, the manufacturer of atrazine, to allow seven times more atrazine in drinking water (21 parts per billion) than allowed by the current standard (3 parts per billion). In her letter to Emilio Bontempo, the president of Ciba, Administrator Browner affirmed several of the core recommendations of Tap Water Blues. In particular, EPA confirmed the need to look at the triazines as a toxicological group, and concluded that current standards may not adequately protect the public from cancer risks due to atrazine alone or the triazine herbicides when considered together. The letter noted that:

"We are also considering whether to regulate the chlorotriazines (i.e. atrazine, cyanazine, simazine) as a group rather than regulating atrazine alone. The triazines have similar structure, mode of action, toxicity and degradates. We presently do not account for the potential additive increase in cancer risk due to exposure to the components of the chlorotriazines mixture, and therefore may be understating risks when regulating the contaminants individually" (Browner 1994). Adding further that: "...the Agency may have underestimated the risk from atrazine exposure in drinking water...."

One month later, in November 1994, the EPA took another step towards reducing exposure to pesticides in drinking water, announcing that they were beginning a special regulatory review of the triazine herbicides. This marked the first time that the agency had ever undertaken a regulatory review of more than one pesticide at a time, and the first time that it would base the risk assessments in the review on additive exposure to the three different active ingredients -- the chlorinated triazine herbicides atrazine (see Sidebar 1), cyanazine, and simazine.

The Special Review was precipitated by the agency's concern over widespread drinking water contamination and risks faced by farmers and commercial applicators of the herbicides. In announcing the review, the Agency noted that it was particularly concerned over the cancer risks from exposure to the triazine herbicides because of possible links between the mammary tumors in female rats and breast cancer in women. The EPA press statement indicated at that time that, "While the EPA does not have information which supports the link between exposure to the triazine herbicides and human breast cancer, the Agency cannot dismiss the possibility that an association could exist" (EPA 1994).

Cyanazine Phase-out

On August 2, 1995, nine months after the announcement of the special review, the EPA and Dupont Agrichemical Company announced the phase-out and ultimate ban of the triazine herbicide cyanazine. Under the agreement, Dupont, the sole producer of cyanazine, will cancel the registrations of all cyanazine products on Dec. 31, 1999. Prior to that date application rates will be reduced to encourage a gradual transition to substitute products. Existing stocks of the weed killer will be allowed to be used through Dec. 31, 2002.

In announcing the ban, Dupont cited concerns about the cost of battling the ongoing EPA review of the triazines, as well as EPA's concerns about the cancer risks that cyanazine presents to the public and pesticide applicators. Implicit in the ban is Dupont's recognition that the EPA considers cyanazine a high risk compound and that the agency would aggressively pursue stiff regulation of the herbicide. The decision also signals Dupont's recognition that it might lose the fight with EPA because cyanazine is in fact a highly toxic substance that presents unacceptably high risks in drinking water. Plainly, the company did not consider the battle a wise use of resources. To replace cyanazine, Dupont will aggressively market new, sulfonylurea (SU) products as safer more effective alternatives to cyanazine. These chemicals are toxic to weeds and other plants via enzymes that do not exist in mammals. Consequently, they are far less toxic to humans than the triazines. They do not contaminate water supplies and are applied only after weeds are present, a factor that encourages more selective weed control practices. SU's however, are extremely toxic to some non-target plants and must be applied with great care. Nonetheless, increased use of the SU's paves the way for a broader phase-out of other triazines and other herbicides that contaminate drinking water throughout the Midwest.

Drinking Water Standards Do Not Adequately Protect Public Health

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA sets enforceable standards for allowable levels of pesticides in drinking water, and requires water utilities to monitor for these contaminants. Standards are set as a two part process. First, the EPA sets a non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG), based purely on health considerations. These MCLGs are set at levels "at which no known or anticipated adverse effects on the health of persons occur, and which allows an adequate margin of safety." The agency then sets enforceable standards, known as Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), which are based upon the MCLGs, but are usually adjusted to ensure that they are technically and financially feasible. For a number of reasons, standards for the herbicides commonly found in drinking water -- atrazine, cyanazine, acetochlor, alachlor, and metolachlor -- fail to adequately protect public health.

Drinking water standards allow excessive cancer risks.

Because of an outdated methodology used to set drinking water standards for these chemicals, they allow 10 to 30 times greater cancer risks than EPA's Office of Pesticides allows for the same pesticides in food. Thus, even when pesticide contamination levels are within EPA's drinking water standards, they may still pose cancer risks that exceed the federal governments "negligible" (See Note 1.) risk standard by a factor of 10 or more.

Standards do not take the risk of exposure to multiple pesticides or pesticide metabolites into account.

Water supplies are often contaminated by multiple pesticides, and this study shows that a single glass from the tap can contain up to nine pesticides or metabolites. In the case of the triazine herbicides -- which, according to EPA all act by the same toxicological mechanism -- multiple exposures can significantly increase health risks. Unfortunately, the standard setting process makes the unrealistic assumption that we are always exposed to pesticides in isolation, never more than one at a time.

Standards fail to protect children.

After a five-year study, the National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1993 that because of differences in physiology children are usually at greater risk from pesticides than adults. On top of this, they are exposed to higher amounts of pesticides relative to their size. For example, infants drink more than twice as much water per unit of body weight than adults, meaning that they receive more than twice the exposure to toxic agents in drinking water. Since the release of the NAS study, no drinking water standard has been set or adjusted specifically to protect infants or young children.

Safe Drinking Water Act monitoring requirements are inadequate.

The Act only requires water utilities to test their water once every three months for these herbicides (and many other contaminants). This quarterly monitoring is an ineffective measure of contamination for seasonal contaminants like the herbicides found in this study, which have peak runoff periods in the spring and summer. Under the current quarterly monitoring scheme, water utilities are able to avoid peak contamination periods during May, June, and July. As a result, utilities that are performing all required testing often significantly underestimate the levels of these herbicides in their drinking water.

Enforceable standards do not even exist for some pesticides.

EPA has set enforceable drinking water standards (MCLs) for three of the pesticides of primary concern: atrazine, alachlor and simazine. For the three other major herbicide contaminants, cyanazine, metolachlor, and acetochlor, EPA has yet to set enforceable drinking water standards. (See Note 2.) Instead, the EPA has issued non-enforceable Lifetime Health Advisories (LHAs). Consequently, water utilities are not required to test their water for these pesticides, and if they do test they are not required to inform their customers if the chemicals are found at levels that exceed federal health advisories.

Congressional Action To Weaken the Law

Just as EPA has begun to address some of the important shortcomings of the current standard setting process, and ensure that public health is protected, Congress is acting in numerous ways to derail these efforts and weaken current law. As this report goes to press, there are ongoing efforts in Congress to:

Weaken pesticide law, making it more difficult for EPA to keep triazine herbicides from contaminating tap water.

On June 19 the House Agriculture Committee passed HR 1627, a sweeping rollback of current pesticide laws supported by the pesticide and agriculture industry, as well as sellers of fruit and vegetables. Among other setbacks, this bill would make it far more difficult for the EPA to restrict or ban the use of any pesticide in order to protect public health.

Weaken the Safe Drinking Water Act, making it more difficult for EPA to set adequate health standards and ensure that affected water utilities are testing their water for herbicide contamination.

Senator Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) has circulated draft legislation supported by water utilities that will relax health standards and monitoring requirements for chemicals in drinking water, including these herbicides. Representative Thomas Bliley (R-VA) the chairman of the House Commerce Committee, is expected to introduce similar legislation to weaken the Safe Drinking Water Act in the House of Representatives.

Defund EPA's Special Review of the triazines.

The non-binding resolution accompanying the May budget approved by the House Budge committee specifically cites the EPA review of atrazine as a "Federal Mandate that Warrants Elimination or Reform." And Representative David McIntosh (R-IN), has included the triazine special review on a list of regulations that need to be "captured or stopped," by possible actions in the House of Representatives.

The FY 1996 appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives would delay or undermine much of EPA's ability to remove weed killers from tap water.

The bill cuts the EPA budget by one-third, effectively short-circuiting the Agency's ability to set and enforce standards for pesticides in drinking water, or to continue the special regulatory review of the triazine herbicides. The bill eliminates a $1.8 billion revolving fund set up specifically to help smaller communities treat contaminated drinking water as it abolishes the EPA's monitoring program and holds up $100 million in grants given to states and communities used to minimize water pollution by runoff such as herbicides.

Chapter 2.  Methodology

Weed Killers By The Glass presents the results of drinking water testing in 29 communities throughout the Midwest, the Chesapeake Bay and Lousiana. Participants in the study collected tap water samples every third day during the peak pesticide contamination period from May through August, providing the first-ever extensive study of pesticide contamination in finished drinking water at sampling sites throughout the Midwest and at other selected locations (such as Baltimore and New Orleans).

Communities Selected For Participation

Twenty-nine communities, with a total population of over 7.5 million people, were selected for participation in this study (Table 4). Communities were selected based upon previous indications of contamination, the willingness and availability of project participants, and the need to ensure geographic diversity in regions tested. The fact that a community is not included in the study does not indicate that there are no weed killers in their drinking water. In fact, in many smaller corn belt communities that rely on rivers or reservoirs for drinking water, herbicide contamination problems are almost certainly worse than the problems identified in the larger communities where we sampled. For example, of the 38 communities reporting a violation of EPA's current atrazine standard, 31 were small community water systems serving less than 3,300 people.

Table 4. Communities where tap water was tested for weed killers.

Akron, OH Johnson Co. WD 1 (Mission), KS
Alliance, OH Kansas City, KS
Baltimore, MD Kansas City, MO
Bettendorf, IA Lawrence, KS
Bowling Green, OH Mankato, MN
Cedar Rapids, IA Memphis, TN
Columbus, OH Minneapolis, MN
Danville, IL Muncie, IN
Decatur, IL New Orleans, LA
Des Moines, IL Omaha, NE (Missouri R.)
Ft. Wayne, IN Omaha, NE (Platte R.)
Granite City, IL Richmond, VA
Indianapolis, IN Springfield, IL
Iowa City, IA St. Louis, MO
Jefferson City, MO Topeka, KS


Sampling and Testing Methodology

In all communities, testing began on either May 15 or May 25, and will continue into August. The results presented in this report represent approximately the halfway point in sample collection. All samples were of municipally treated tap water, collected at a kitchen or bathroom sink. No home water treatment units (softeners, filters, etc.) were used on taps that were sampled for pesticides. Cold water was used for all samples, and was allowed to run from two to three minutes before sample collection.

Specially prepared sample jars were provided by the laboratory with appropriate cleaning and pretreatment. Samples for immunoassay analysis were collected every third day in special sample containers, stored in a refrigerator, and after a fourth sample was collected, mailed in a special shipping container to the University Hygienic Laboratory, Iowa City, Iowa.

All samples were refrigerated at 4° C upon receipt at the laboratory until analyzed. Additionally, a liter sample was collected from each location once per month, mailed to the laboratory, and refrigerated upon receipt. The liter samples from each location were extracted for herbicide analysis by gas chromatography (GC) methods. The GC samples were extracted within seven days of receipt at the laboratory.

Analysis of water samples was done under contract with the University Hygienic Laboratory (UHL) in Iowa City, Iowa. The UHL is a nationally respected environmental and public health laboratory that has been in operation for over 90 years, and routinely performs analytical work for the US EPA, other federal and state agencies, public water suppliers, and industry. The Hygienic Laboratory follows strict Quality Assurance and Quality Control guidelines, and is certified to perform environmental analysis ranging from drinking water to hazardous waste sites.

Immunoassays were performed for atrazine and cyanazine using standard commercial kits, and all analyses were conducted in the controlled conditions of the professional laboratory. The EnviroGardTM Triazine and Cyanazine Plate Kits, marketed by Millipore, Inc., were used for the determination of atrazine and cyanazine respectively. Procedures provided by the kit manufacturer were used with additional quality control measures established by the laboratory to help ensure accurate results. Following the manufacturer's instructions, samples were analyzed within seven days of receipt at the laboratory. All samples were analyzed in duplicate, and the results were normalized against control standards and averaged. Results from both analyses were required to be within specified quality control limits or the sample was re-analyzed.

Quantification limits set by the laboratory through validation studies are 0.1 ug/l (ppb) for the triazines, and 0.25 ug/l for cyanazine immunoassay methods respectively. Previous work has shown that these tests provide reliable estimates for the concentration of atrazine and cyanazine, but they are also responsive to other related compounds.

Gas chromatographic (GC) analysis provides more specific identification of individual compounds. The GC analysis was performed according to Method 507 --Determination of Nitrogen- and Phosphorus-Containing Pesticides In Water By Gas Chromatography with a Nitrogen-Phosphorus Detector -- developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This method allows the identification and quantification of many different herbicide compounds such as acetochlor, alachlor, atrazine, butylate, cyanazine, metolachlor, metribuzin, simazine, and trifluralin. In addition, although desisopropylatrazine and desethylatrazine, the metabolites (breakdown products) of some of these compounds, are not specifically included in the method, they can be determined by Method 507. Laboratory established quantification limits for compounds determined by Method 507 are 0.1 ug/l (ppb) for each compound. For confirmation purposes, the laboratory uses two dissimilar chromatography columns for recognition and quantification of each compound. Instrument calibration is performed routinely using appropriate methods for many of the herbicides commonly applied in the Midwest.

Chapter 3.  Findings and Recommendations

The results of Weed Killers By The Glass substantially confirm the Environmental Working Group's 1994 findings of Tap Water Blues (Wiles et al. 1994). Millions of individuals in the Midwestern United States are commonly exposed to one or more pesticides in a single glass of tap water. During peak runoff periods pesticide contamination levels repeatedly exceed federal health standards and pose significant health risks.

Some water utilities, notably the Kansas City, MO water system, have taken a public position that they will not allow atrazine contamination to exceed EPA lifetime standards for even one day. And the American Water Works Association (AWWA), in their comments to the EPA on the atrazine special review, noted that "AWWA is concerned with exceedances of any MCL at any time..." (AWWA 1995; emphasis in original). Nonetheless, our testing of tap water in 29 cities revealed:

1. Weed Killers are Routinely Found in Tap Water at Levels that Exceed Federal Health Standards.

It is not unusual for atrazine and cyanazine levels to exceed EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL), or Lifetime Health Advisories (LHA) in treated tap water. Cyanazine levels exceeded federal health guidelines in 35 percent of all samples. Atrazine concentrations were above the federal health standards in 17 percent of all samples.

In some cities, herbicides in tap water exceed federal health standards for weeks or months at a time. In Springfield, IL, cyanazine exceeded the LHA in every sample that was collected. In eight other cities -- Danville and Decatur, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Columbus and Bowling Green, OH; Jefferson City MO; New Orleans, LA; and Kansas City, KS -- more than half of the samples that were collected exceeded the atrazine MCL or the cyanazine LHA.

The cyanazine LHA was exceeded at least once in 18 cities (62 percent) with a total population of 4.48 million people, 60 percent of the population covered in the study (Table 5). Atrazine exceeded the MCL at least once in 13 communities with a total population of 2.98 million people, representing 43% of the cities, and 40% of the of the population for the study area (Table 6).

Danville, Illinois has the worst cyanazine problem of the cities studied. Six tap water samples from Danville contained cyanazine at more than 10 times the LHA and in one sample cyanazine was found at 34 times the LHA. The nine samples with the highest cyanazine concentrations all came from Danville, followed by tap water samples from Kansas City, KS; Decatur, IL; Fort Wayne, IN; and Omaha, NE.

The highest atrazine concentration -- 18 ppb more than 6 times the MCL -- was also found in Danville, IL. In fact, the six samples with the highest atrazine concentrations all came from Danville. The four communities with the next four highest atrazine detections, all above the MCL, were Fort Wayne, IN; Columbus and Bowling Green, OH; and Kansas City, KS.

Table 5. Eighteen communities had at least one sample of cyanazine above the federal Lifetime Health Advisory of 1 ppb in finished tap water.

Community Highest Cyanazine Concentration (ppb) % of Samples Above LHA
Danville, IL 34.00 94
Kansas City, KS 6.40 56
Decatur, IL 6.20 81
Ft. Wayne, IN 4.80 50
Omaha , NE (Missouri R.) 4.60 25
Indianapolis, IN 4.58 81
Columbus, OH 4.40 79
Springfield, IL 4.20 100
Omaha, NE (Platte) 3.90 44
Kansas City, MO 3.50 25
Bowling Green, OH 3.20 50
Richmond, IN 3.00 13
Jefferson City, MO 3.00 50
St. Louis, MO 2.40 19
Granite City, IL 1.70 92
New Orleans, LA 1.60 56
Iowa City, IA 1.50 44
Johnson County WD 1, KS 1.50 50
Des Moines, IA 1.30 6

 

Table 6. Thirteen communities had at least one sample of atrazine above the federal Maximum Contaminant Level in finished tap water.

Community Highest Atrazine Concentration (ppb) % of Samples Above MCL
Danville, IL 18.00 88
Ft. Wayne, IN 10.00 36
Bowling Green, OH 9.20 38
Columbus, OH 8.74 43
Kansas City, KS 7.40 44
Decatur, IL 7.20 63
Topeka, KS 7.20 38
Indianapolis, IN 5.90 50
Omaha, NE 4.90 31
Richmond, IN 4.50 13
Lawrence, KS 4.50 22
Jefferson City, MO 4.40 14
Springfield, IL 4.10 15
New Orleans, LA 3.70 25

 

2. Contamination is ubiquitous.

Atrazine was found in tap water in 28 out of 29 cities tested, cyanazine was found in 25, metolachlor in 19, acetochlor in 15, alachlor in 10, simazine in four and metribuzin in two. One of two breakdown products (known as metabolites) of atrazine, desethylatrazine and desisopropylatrazine, was found in 12 communities (Table 7). The only community where weed killers were not found in tap water was Memphis, TN, which obtains its tap water from deep groundwater wells.

Table 7. Atrazine was the most frequently detected contaminant.

Herbicide # Communities Detecting % of Communities Detecting
Atrazine 28 97%
Cyanazine 25 86%
Metolachlor 19 66%
Acetochlor 15 52%
Atrazine Metabolites 12 41%
Alachlor 10 34%
Simazine 4 14%
Metribuzin 2 7%
Desisopropylatrazine 2 7%

Cyanazine and atrazine testing was done using immunoassay and Gas Chromatogrophy (GC) sampling. Other pesticides were analyzed using only GC sampling.

3. Average Levels of Weed Killers in Tap Water Exceeded Federal Standards in 13 Cities.

Average cyanazine levels in tap water exceeded the LHA in 13 cities during the entire testing period (Table 8). Average atrazine levels in drinking water during the same period exceeded the federal MCL in six of these same 13 cities, including Indianapolis IN; Columbus OH; and Fort Wayne IN (Table 9).

Combined levels of cyanazine and atrazine (total "triazine" level) exceeded the atrazine standard of 3 ppb in 11 cities tested. This is significant because the EPA has determined that the cancer risk from these herbicides is additive (PD1). Cyanazine, however, is a significantly more potent carcinogen than atrazine. Any combination of cyanazine and atrazine that exceeds the atrazine standard, therefore, is actually more toxic than exposure to atrazine alone at the same level.

Table 8. Danville, IL had the highest average cyanazine concentration.

City Average Cyanazine Concentration
Danville, IL 10.71
Springfield, IL 2.85
Indianapolis, IN 2.22
Decatur, IL 2.19
Columbus, OH 2.09
Kansas City, KS 1.96
Bowling Green, OH 1.58
Ft. Wayne, IN 1.41
Granite City, IL 1.24
Jefferson City, MO 1.14
Omaha, NE (Platte) 1.09
Omaha, NE (Missouri R.) 1.03
Johnson County WD 1, KS 1.00
Iowa City, IA 0.89
New Orleans, LA 0.87
St. Louis, MO 0.83
Kansas City, MO 0.75
Richmond, IN 0.54
Topeka, KS 0.22
Des Moines, IA 0.18
Alliance, OH 0.16
Lawrence, KS 0.11
Cedar Rapids, IA 0.11
Minneapolis, MN 0.05
Davenport, IA 0.04
Akron, OH 0.03

 

Table 9. Danville, IL had the highest average atrazine concentration.

City Average Atrazine Concentration
 
Danville, IL 8.71
Ft. Wayne, IN 3.69
Columbus, OH 3.54
Decatur, IL 3.45
Bowling Green, OH 3.40
Indianapolis, IN 3.04
Kansas City, KS 2.93
Topeka, KS 2.56
New Orleans, LA 2.26
Jefferson City, MO 2.13
Springfield, IL 2.12
Omaha, NE (Platte) 2.09
St. Louis, MO 1.67
Iowa City, IA 1.66
Granite City, IL 1.49
Lawrence, KS 1.49
Johnson County WD 1, KS 1.45
Richmond, IN 1.10
Alliance, OH 1.03
Kansas City, MO 1.01
Omaha, NE (Missouri R.) 0.85
Cedar Rapids, IA 0.64
Des Moines, IA 0.53
Davenport, IA 0.44
Akron, OH 0.30
Minneapolis, MN 0.11
Baltimore, MD 0.06

 

4. Routine Exposure to Many Different Pesticides in a Single Glass of Water.

Tap water from two-thirds of the cities tested contained at least four and as many as nine pesticides or pesticide by-products (Table 10). Current EPA drinking water standards are set one chemical at a time and assume that the simultaneous exposure we document in this study does not occur.

Samples of tap water were tested once a month (twice during the study period) for eleven different pesticides. These tests found two or more pesticides or pesticide metabolites in the drinking water of 27 out of 29 cities, three or more in 24 cities, four or more in 21 cities, five or more in 18 cities, six or more in 13 cities, and seven or more pesticides or metabolites in the treated tap water of five cities -- Ft. Wayne, IN; Muncie, IN; Danville, IL; Columbus, OH; and Bowling Green, OH (Table 10). In Fort Wayne, IN, nine different pesticides and metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, metribuzin, acetochlor, desethylatrazine, desisopropylatrazine, and simazine -- were found in a single sample of tap water collected in June, 1995. Three of these pesticides were found at levels above EPA standards. The nine pesticides included two probable human carcinogens, five possible human carcinogens, one pesticide responsible for birth defects, and four pesticides that disrupt the endocrine or hormone system.

Table 10. Two or more pesticides or metabolites were found the tap water of 27 communities.

Community # Detected Pesticides Detected in Tap Water
Ft. Wayne, IN 9 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Metribuzin, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine, Desisopropylatrazine, Simazine
Muncie, IN 7 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Alachlor, Metolachlor, Desethylatrazine, Desisopropylatrazine, Simazine
Danville, IL 7 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Desethylatrazine, Desisopropylatrazine, Acetochlor, Simazine
Columbus, OH 7 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine, Desisopropylatrazine
Bowling Green, OH 7 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine, Desisoproppylatrazine
Johnson County WD 1, KS 6 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Desethylatrazine, Desisopropylatrazine
Jefferson City, MO 6 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine
Kansas City, MO 6 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine
Kansas City, KS 6 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine
Omaha, NE (Platte) 6 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine
St. Louis, MO 6 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine
New Orleans, LA 6 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine, Simazine
Decatur, IL 6 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine, Desisopropylatrazine
Indianapolis, IN 5 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Desisopropylatrazine, Desethylatrazine
Granite City, IL 5 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine
Iowa City, IA 5 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Alachlor, Desethylatrazine
Topeka, KS 5 Atrazine, Metolachlor, Cyanazine, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine
Richmond, IN 5 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Acetochlor, Desethylatrazine
Des Moines, IA 4 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Acetochlor
Bettendorf, IA 4 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Acetochlor
Cedar Rapids, IA 4 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor, Desethylatrazine
Omaha, NE (MO River) 3 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor
Springfield, IL 3 Atrazine, Cyanazine, Metolachlor
Alliance, OH 3 Atrazine, Metolachlor, Cyanazine
Akron, OH 2 Atrazine*, Cyanazine*
Minneapolis, MN 2 Atrazine*, Cyanazine*
Baltimore, MD 2 Atrazine, Desethylatrazine
Lawrence, KS 2 Atrazine, Cyanazine*

* Indicates that pesticides were detected in immunoassay samples but not GC samples.

5. Infants and Children are Exposed at Unsafe Levels and Mixtures of Pesticides in Infant Formula, Juices, and Drinks Reconstituted with Tap Water.

Drinking water standards do not account for the vulnerability of infants to toxic chemicals such as these weed killers, nor do they account for the high volume of water children drink relative to adults.

We estimate that 45,000 infants in 29 cities drank infant formula reconstituted with tap water contaminated with weed killers during this six week period. More than 10,000 infants drank infant formula made with tap water contaminated with atrazine at levels above the federal MCL. These same 10,000, plus an additional 8,400 infants, drank infant formula made with tap water contaminated with cyanazine at levels above the federal LHA. An estimated 28,000 infants drank infant formula reconstituted with tap water that was contaminated with at least four pesticides, and as many as nine pesticides and toxic pesticide by-products.

Conclusions

Federal Drinking Water Monitoring Requirements are Fundamentally Flawed.

Federal drinking water monitoring requirements provide regulators and public health officials with a fundamentally distorted picture of contamination levels in water. Extended periods of exposure above federal standards are not identified by federal monitoring requirements, nor are peak exposures that may exceed these standards by 10-fold to 30-fold or more.

Within the peak contamination period extended and repeated exposure to weed killers at levels above federal health standards is common in the cities we studied. Federal monitoring requirements, in contrast, treat all seasons the same and mandate only one sample during each quarter of the year, including the three month heavy contamination period. Even this lone sample can be taken before herbicides are applied and while contamination levels are low, or after pesticides have been largely flushed downstream.

On top of this, there is no monitoring requirement for so-called "unregulated contaminants" such as cyanazine, even though cyanazine was found at levels exceeding federal health advisories more often than any other herbicide.

These failings are particularly disturbing because federal drinking water standards do not incorporate safety factors to protect the public from extended periods of exposure above the MCL or LHA. The standards also do not consider the risks of exposure to multiple herbicides simultaneously, and they do not explicitly take into account the special risks to children. Finally, EPA's standard-setting methodology does not adequately protect the public from cancer risks.

Conventional Water Treatment Does Not Remove Weed Killers.

Following the release of Tap Water Blues, many water utilities claimed that the water treatment techniques they were using were able to adequately remove herbicides from contaminated source water. This is not the case.

All of the water tested in this study was treated tap water. In most cases, utilities are using only conventional water treatment -- chlorination and sand filtration -- which does nothing to reduce weed killer levels in water delivered to the community.

In a few communities, including Springfield, IL, and Kansas City, MO, water utilities are spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars using powdered activated carbon (PAC) in an attempt to reduce the levels of atrazine. While PAC can be used to reduce contamination levels of individual weed killers, it is not a solution to the problem. Springfield, Illinois, which utilizes vast amounts of PAC, still had the second highest cyanazine concentration of any city that was tested. PAC reacts differently with different chemicals, and its effectiveness in treating complex mixtures of contaminants in tap water is unproven.

In Bowling Green, the water utility uses a holding tank that they claim helps to reduce herbicide concentrations. In fact, the holding tank had just the opposite effect. By holding highly contaminated water in the tank, Bowling Green water authorities actually increased the levels of atrazine and cyanazine from below federal health standards on May 15, to levels three times higher than federal health standards by June 26th.

The only technology that can adequately remove pesticides once they have contaminated water supplies is the more expensive Granular Activated Carbon. Instead of costly technical fixes to the problem, the pollution prevention approach of restricting pesticide use is the most efficient and effective means of ensuring the safety of water supplies.

Recommendations

  • Parents in the most contaminated communities should seriously consider alternatives to tap water for infant formula, reconstituted juices or drinks for their infants and children from May 1 through August 30.

    The most contaminated cities identified in this study include:

    Danville, Decatur, Granite City and Springfield, Illinois
    Columbus and Bowling Green, Ohio
    Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Kansas City, Kansas
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    Omaha, Nebraska
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    All of these cities had average contamination levels that exceeded at least one federal health standard for the study period, with the exception of New Orleans, LA, which did not exceed any individual health standard for the period but had a combined triazine average contamination level above the atrazine MCL of 3 parts per billion.

  • The EPA should require daily monitoring for triazine herbicides with inexpensive immunoassay tests for all surface-water-supplied drinking water systems in the corn belt. The monitoring cost is about $1,500 per city; less than 10 cents per person in a city of 20,000.
  • The EPA should phase out the use of the triazine herbicides by September 1996.
  • Congress must strengthen federal pesticide and drinking water laws so that they explicitly protect infants and children from acute and chronic effects of these contaminants.
  • Absent Congressional action, the EPA should move to set pesticide and drinking water standards to protect infants and children.
  • When setting drinking water standards to protect infants and children the EPA must strictly follow the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Report, Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. At a minimum the EPA must specifically account for contamination of tap water with many different pesticides and metabolites. The agency (1) must explicitly account for additive or synergistic risks that may result from pesticides that act via a similar toxic mechanism or cause a similar toxic effect, (2) it must specifically account for any increased sensitivity or risk associated with infant or childhood exposure to these mixtures of compounds, and (3) it must consider all routes of exposure to the pesticides that a infant or child might encounter.

Citizens' Monitoring Results in 29 Cities


Akron, Ohio: Citizen Monitoring Results

Akron drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers. Tests of city tap water found at least two different pesticides in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in 91 percent of tap water samples collected between May 25 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 9 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 1,850 infants in Akron consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Ohio corn growers at a rate of $164 million per year, for a ten year total of $1.64 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 91 percent of 11 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 0.46 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 0.30 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 9 percent of tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 0.35 ppb.
  • Average concentration --0.03 ppb.

The Presence of Multiple Weed Killers

  • Atrazine and cyanazine were both found in Akron tap water.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Ohio Corn Farmers Used 9.55 Million Pounds Of Herbicides In 1994

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 148,000 300,000
Alachlor 814,000 1,618,000
Atrazine 2,849,000 3,568,000
Cyanazine 814,000 1,704,000
Metolachlor 1,100,000 2,086,000
Simazine 259,000 275,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Baltimore, Maryland Citizen Monitoring Results

Baltimore drinking water is contaminated with the cancer causing weed killer atrazine at trace levels. Tests of city tap water found at least two different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in 40 percent of tap water samples collected between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Desethylatrazine, a breakdown product of atrazine, was also found in Baltimore drinking water. During this test period approximately 8,500 infants in Baltimore consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with trace levels of toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized the nation's corn growers at a rate of $3 billion per year, for a ten year total of $30 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water --3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 40 percent of 15 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 0.19 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 0.06 ppb.

The Presence of Multiple Weed Killers

  • Atrazine and one of its breakdown products, desethylatrazine, were both found at trace levels in a sample of Baltimore tap water collected on July 3, 1995.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for exposure to pesticide metabolites.

Approximately 5.6 Million Pounds of Herbicides Are Used On Corn In The Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor n/a n/a
Alachlor 445,750 802,655
Atrazine 1,767,300 2,306,548
Cyanazine 248,250 399,688
Metolachlor 1,044,700 1,897,258
Simazine 260,700 266,638

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Bowling Green, Ohio Citizen Monitoring Results

Bowling Green drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards. Tests of city tap water found seven different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 200 infants in Bowling Green consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with seven toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Ohio corn growers at a rate of $164 million per year, for a ten year total of $1.64 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • 38 percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 9.20 ppb, more than three times the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 3.40 ppb, also above the federal health standard.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of samples
  • 50 percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 3.20 ppb, more than three times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 1.58 ppb, well above the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Seven pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, desisopropylatrazine, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Bowling Green tap water collected on July 2, 1995.
  • These seven pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Ohio Corn Farmers Used 9.55 Million Pounds Of Herbicides In 1994

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 148,000 300,000
Alachlor 814,000 1,618,000
Atrazine 2,849,000 3,568,000
Cyanazine 814,000 1,704,000
Metolachlor 1,100,000 2,086,000
Simazine 259,000 275,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Cedar Rapids, Iowa Citizen Monitoring Results

Cedar Rapids drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers. Tests of city tap water found four different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 25 percent of these samples. During this test period approximately 750 infants in Cedar Rapids consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with four toxic weed killers (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD).

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Iowa corn growers at a rate of $809 million per year, for a ten-year total of $8.09 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 1.30 ppb
  • Average concentration -- 0.64 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 25 percent of tap water samples.
  • Highest level found -- 0.85 ppb.
  • Average concentration --0.11 ppb.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Four pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Cedar Rapids tap water collected on July 5, 1995.
  • These four pesticides or metabolites include three pesticides classified by EPA as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Iowa Corn Reached 32.1 Million Pounds in 1994, up 4.85 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 1,170,000 2,164,000
Alachlor 1,690,000 4,115,000
Atrazine 8,580,000 7,471,000
Cyanazine 3,380,000 7,768,000
Metolachlor 4,940,000 10,664,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Columbus, Ohio Citizen Monitoring Results

Columbus drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards. Tests of city tap water found seven different pesticides or metabolites, with up to six in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 3,500 infants in Columbus consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with seven toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Ohio corn growers at a rate of $164 million per year, for a ten year total of $1.64 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 14 tap water samples
  • 43 percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 8.74 ppb, nearly three times the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 3.54 ppb, also above the federal health standard.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of samples
  • 79 percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 4.40 ppb, more than four times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 2.09 ppb, more than twice the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Seven pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, desisopropylatrazine, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Columbus tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These seven pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Ohio Corn Farmers Used 9.55 Million Pounds Of Herbicides In 1994

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 148,000 300,000
Alachlor 814,000 1,618,000
Atrazine 2,849,000 3,568,000
Cyanazine 814,000 1,704,000
Metolachlor 1,100,000 2,086,000
Simazine 259,000 275,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Danville, Illinois Citizen Monitoring Results

Danville drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards. Tests of city tap water found up to seven pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant was atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 94 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 250 infants in Danville consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with up to seven toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Illinois corn growers at a rate of $607 million per year, for a ten year total of $6.07 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • 88 percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 18 ppb, six times the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 8.71 ppb, nearly three times the federal health standard.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 94 percent of samples
  • 94 percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 34.00 ppb, thirty-four times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 10.71 ppb, more than ten times the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Seven pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, simazine, metolachlor, desisopropylatrazine, desethylatrazine, alachlor, and acetochlor -- were found in a single sample of Danville tap water collected on June 1, 1995.
  • These seven pesticides or metabolites include one pesticide classified by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen, four classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Illinois Corn Reached 32.4 Million Pounds in 1994, up by 6 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 580,000 973,000
Alachlor 1,972,000 5,041,000
Atrazine 9,628,000 11,345,000
Cyanazine 2,668,000 6,933,000
Metolachlor 3,712,000 7,713,000
Simazine 348,000 415,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Davenport/Bettendorf, Iowa Citizen Monitoring Results

Drinking water in Davenport and Bettendorf is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers. Tests of city tap water found four different pesticides in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every sample of tap water collected between May 25 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 17 percent of these samples. During this test period approximately 850 infants in the community consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with four toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Iowa corn growers at a rate of $809 million per year, for a 10-year total of $8.09 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies. (Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 12 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 0.95 ppb
  • Average concentration -- 0.44 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen. (Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 17 percent of tap water samples.
  • Highest level found -- 0.28 ppb.
  • Average concentration --0.04 ppb.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Four pesticides -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, and acetochlor -- were found in a single sample of tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These four pesticides include one pesticide classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen, three pesticides classified by EPA as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Iowa Corn Reached 32.1 Million Pounds in 1994, up 4.85 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 1,170,000 2,164,000
Alachlor 1,690,000 4,115,000
Atrazine 8,580,000 7,471,000
Cyanazine 3,380,000 7,768,000
Metolachlor 4,940,000 10,664,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Decatur, Illinois Citizen Monitoring Results

Decatur drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards. A total of six different pesticides or metabolites were found in city tap water, with up to five found in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant was atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period over 500 infants in Decatur consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with up to six toxic weed killers (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD).

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Illinois corn growers at a rate of $607 million per year, for a ten year total of $6.07 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • 63 percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 7.20 ppb, more than twice the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 3.45 ppb, also above the federal health standard.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes heritable genetic mutations in mammalian cells, which according to the EPA makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of samples
  • 81 percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 6.20 ppb, six times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 2.19 ppb, more than twice the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, desisopropylatrazine, desethylatrazine, and acetochlor -- were found in Decatur tap water samples. Up to five of these were found in a single sample.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include one pesticide classified by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen, three classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Illinois Corn Reached 32.4 Million Pounds in 1994, up by 6 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 580,000 973,000
Alachlor 1,972,000 5,041,000
Atrazine 9,628,000 11,345,000
Cyanazine 2,668,000 6,933,000
Metolachlor 3,712,000 7,713,000
Simazine 348,000 415,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Des Moines, Iowa Citizen Monitoring Results

Des Moines drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers that have exceeded federal standards on at least one occasion. Tests of city tap water found four different pesticides in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in 81 percent of tap water samples collected between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 38 percent of these samples. During this test period approximately 1,250 infants in Des Moines consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with four toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Iowa corn growers at a rate of $809 million per year, for a ten year total of $8.09 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 81 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 1.80 ppb
  • Average concentration -- 0.53 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 38 percent of tap water samples.
  • Highest level found -- 1.30 ppb, above the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration --0.18 ppb.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Four pesticides -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, and acetochlor -- were found in a single sample of Des Moines tap water collected on June 3, 1995.
  • These four pesticides include one pesticide classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen, three pesticides classified by EPA as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Iowa Corn Reached 32.1 Million Pounds in 1994, up 4.85 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 1,170,000 2,164,000
Alachlor 1,690,000 4,115,000
Atrazine 8,580,000 7,471,000
Cyanazine 3,380,000 7,768,000
Metolachlor 4,940,000 10,664,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)

 


Fort Wayne, Indiana Citizen Monitoring Results

Fort Wayne drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards. Tests of city tap water found up to nine pesticides or metabolites in a single sample of water. The most common pesticide contaminant was atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested. Cyanazine was found in 71 percent of these same samples. During this test period about 12,000 infants in Fort Wayne consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with up to nine toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Indiana corn growers at a rate of $278 million per year, for a ten-year total of $2.78 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims farmers' weed control costs would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming industry's claim is true, the added costs would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European drinking water standard 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 15 tap water samples
  • 36 percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 10 ppb, more than three times the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 3.69 ppb, also above the federal health standard.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA, this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb, European drinking water standard 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 71 percent of samples
  • 50 percent of samples were above federal health advisories
  • Highest level found -- 4.8 ppb, nearly five times the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 1.41 ppb, well above the federal health standard

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Nine pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, simazine, metolachlor, desisopropylatrazine, desethylatrazine, alachlor, acetochlor, and metribuzin, -- were found in Fort Wayne tap water sampled on June 1, 1995. Three of these herbicides (atrazine, cyanazine, and alachlor) exceeded federal health standards.
  • These nine pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by the EPA as probable human carcinogens, four classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes for birth defects in animal studies, and four pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 25 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Indiana Corn Reached 18 Million Pounds in 1994, up 2.3 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 240,000 361,000
Alachlor 1,400,000 3,005,000
Atrazine 5,300,000 7,190,000
Cyanazine 1,159,000 2,487,000
Metolachlor 2,623,000 4,911,000
Simazine 122,000 130,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Granite City, Illinois Citizen Monitoring Results

Citizen Monitoring Results

Granite City drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards. Tests of city tap water found five different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 27 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 92 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 250 infants in Granite City consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with up to five toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Illinois corn growers at a rate of $607 million per year, for a ten year total of $6.07 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 12 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 1.90 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 1.49 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 92 percent of samples
  • Every positive sample (92 percent of samples) was above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 1.70 ppb, nearly twice the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 1.24 ppb, also above the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Five pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Granite City tap water collected on June 1, 1995.
  • These five pesticides or metabolites include one pesticide classified as a probable human carcinogen, three classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Illinois Corn Reached 32.4 Million Pounds in 1994, up by 6 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 580,000 973,000
Alachlor 1,972,000 5,041,000
Atrazine 9,628,000 11,345,000
Cyanazine 2,668,000 6,933,000
Metolachlor 3,712,000 7,713,000
Simazine 348,000 415,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Indianapolis, Indiana Citizen Monitoring Results

Indianapolis drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards. Tests of city tap water found up to five different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant was atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 4,400 infants in Indianapolis consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with up to five toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Indiana corn growers at a rate of $278 million per year, for a ten year total of $2.78 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • 50 percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 5.90 ppb, nearly twice the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 3.04 ppb, also above the federal health standard.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of samples
  • 81 percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 4.58 ppb, four and one half times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 2.22 ppb, more than twice the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Five pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, desisopropylatrazine, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Indianapolis tap water collected on June 1, 1995.
  • These five pesticides or metabolites include three pesticides classified by EPA as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Indiana Corn Reached 18 Million Pounds in 1994, up 2.3 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 240,000 361,000
Alachlor 1,400,000 3,005,000
Atrazine 5,300,000 7,190,000
Cyanazine 1,159,000 2,487,000
Metolachlor 2,623,000 4,911,000
Simazine 122,000 130,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Iowa City, Iowa Citizen Monitoring Results

Iowa City drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards for at least one herbicide. Tests of city tap water found five different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in every sample. During this test period approximately 325 infants in Iowa City consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with five toxic weed killers (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD).

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Iowa corn growers at a rate of $809 million per year, for a ten year total of $8.09 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 2.80 ppb
  • Average concentration -- 1.66 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of tap water samples
  • Forty-four percent of samples exceeded the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 1.50 ppb, above the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration --0.89 ppb.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Five pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Iowa City tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These five pesticides or metabolites include one pesticide classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Iowa Corn Reached 32.1 Million Pounds in 1994, up 4.85 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 1,170,000 2,164,000
Alachlor 1,690,000 4,115,000
Atrazine 8,580,000 7,471,000
Cyanazine 3,380,000 7,768,000
Metolachlor 4,940,000 10,664,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Jefferson City, Missouri Citizen Monitoring Results

Jefferson City drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards. Tests of city tap water found six different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 200 infants in Jefferson City consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with six toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Missouri corn growers at a rate of $98 million per year, for a ten year total of $980 million. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 14 tap water samples
  • 14 percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 4.40 ppb, above the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 2.13 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of samples
  • 50 percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 3.00 ppb, three times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 1.14 ppb, also above the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Jefferson City tap water collected on June 5, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Missouri Corn Reached 6.1 Million Pounds in 1994, up One Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 0 0
Alachlor 432,000 679,000
Atrazine 1,992,000 2,729,000
Cyanazine 504,000 1,006,000
Metolachlor 888,000 1,700,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Johnson County, Kansas Citizen Monitoring Results

The Johnson County (Kansas) Water District drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that have exceeded federal standards for at least one compound. Tests of city tap water found six different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and June 5, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 1,500 infants in the Johnson County Water District (serving Mission, KS) consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with six toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Kansas corn growers at a rate of $84 million per year, for a ten year total of $840 million. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 8 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 1.90 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 1.45 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of tap water samples
  • Fifty percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 1.50 ppb, above the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration --1.00 ppb, equal to the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, desisopropylatrazine, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Johnson County Water District tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include one pesticide classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen, three pesticides classified as probable human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Kansas Corn Reached 3.2 Million Pounds in 1993, up 578,000 Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 0 0
Alachlor 1,580,000 556,000
Atrazine 1,778,000 1,580,000
Cyanazine 219,200 378,000
Metolachlor 1,172,000 739,800
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Kansas City, Kansas Citizen Monitoring Results

Kansas City, Kansas drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards by wide margins. Tests of city tap water found six different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 1000 infants in Kansas City consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with six toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Kansas corn growers at a rate of $84 million per year, for a ten year total of $840 million. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • Forty-four percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 7.40 ppb, more than twice the federal standard
  • Average concentration -- 2.93 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of samples
  • Fifty-six percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 6.40 ppb, more than six times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration --1.96 ppb, almost twice the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Kansas City, Kansas tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Kansas Corn Reached 3.2 Million Pounds in 1993, up 578,000 Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 0 0
Alachlor 1,580,000 556,000
Atrazine 1,778,000 1,580,000
Cyanazine 219,200 378,000
Metolachlor 1,172,000 739,800
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Kansas City, Missouri Citizen Monitoring Results

Kansas City, Missouri drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that have exceeded federal standards for at least one herbicide. Tests of city tap water found six different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 81 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 2,900 infants in Kansas City consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with six toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Missouri corn growers at a rate of $98 million per year, for a ten year total of $980 million. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 1.90 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 1.01 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 81 percent of samples
  • 25 percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 3.50 ppb, more than three times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 0.75 ppb.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Kansas City, Missouri tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Missouri Corn Reached 6.1 Million Pounds in 1994, up One Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 0 0
Alachlor 432,000 679,000
Atrazine 1,992,000 2,729,000
Cyanazine 504,000 1,006,000
Metolachlor 888,000 1,700,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Lawrence, Kansas Citizen Monitoring Results

Lawrence drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that have exceeded federal standards for at least one herbicide. Tests of city tap water found at least two different pesticides in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 31 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 22 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 425 infants in Lawrence consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Kansas corn growers at a rate of $84 million per year, for a ten year total of $840 million. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 9 tap water samples
  • Twenty-two percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 4.50 ppb, above the federal standard
  • Average concentration -- 1.49 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 22 percent of tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 0.50 ppb.
  • Average concentration --0.11 ppb.

The Presence of Multiple Weed Killers

  • Atrazine and cyanazine were both found in Lawrence tap water.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Kansas Corn Reached 3.2 Million Pounds in 1993, up 578,000 Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 0 0
Alachlor 1,580,000 556,000
Atrazine 1,778,000 1,580,000
Cyanazine 219,200 378,000
Metolachlor 1,172,000 739,800
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Minneapolis, Minnesota Citizen Monitoring Results

Minneapolis drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at trace levels. Tests of city tap water found at least two different pesticides in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in 58 percent of tap water sample collected between May 25 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 17 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 3,150 infants in Minneapolis consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with trace levels of toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Minnesota corn growers at a rate of $278 million per year, for a ten year total of $2.78 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 58 percent of 11 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 0.24 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 0.11 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 17 percent of tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 0.31 ppb.
  • Average concentration --0.05 ppb.

The Presence of Multiple Weed Killers

  • Atrazine and cyanazine were both found in Minneapolis tap water.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

In 1994, Minnesota Corn Producers Used 9.7 Million Pounds of Herbicides

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 910,000 1,841,000
Alachlor 770,000 1,394,000
Atrazine 2,520,000 1,787,000
Cyanazine 910,000 1,439,000
Metolachlor 1,470,000 3,277,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)

 


Muncie, Indiana Citizen Monitoring Results

Muncie drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers. Tests of city tap water found up to seven different pesticides or metabolites in a single glass. During this test period approximately 480 infants in Muncie consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with up to seven toxic weed killers (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD).

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Indiana corn growers at a rate of $278 million per year, for a 10-year total of $2.78 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Seven pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, simazine, desethylatrazine, and desisopropylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Alliance tap water collected on June 2, 1995. Two of these pesticides -- atrazine and cyanazine -- were found above EPA standards.
  • These seven pesticides include one pesticide classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen, four pesticides classified by EPA as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and four pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • This initial finding was confirmed by a second sample collected on July 5, 1995. This sample contained five different pesticides, atrazine, cyanazine, simazine, metolachlor, and desethylatrazine.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Indiana Corn Reached 18 Million Pounds in 1994, up 2.3 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 240,000 361,000
Alachlor 1,400,000 3,005,000
Atrazine 5,300,000 7,190,000
Cyanazine 1,159,000 2,487,000
Metolachlor 2,623,000 4,911,000
Simazine 122,000 130,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


New Orleans, Louisiana Citizen Monitoring Results

New Orleans drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards for at least one herbicide. Tests of city tap water found six different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in 94 percent of tap water samples tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 81 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 3,300 infants in New Orleans consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with six toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized corn growers upstream of New Orleans in the Mississippi River basin at a rate of approximately $3 billion per year, for a ten year total of over $30 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 94 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • Exceeded the federal health standard in 25 percent of samples.
  • Highest level found -- 3.70 ppb, above the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration --2.26 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 81 percent of samples
  • Fifty-six percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 1.60 ppb, above the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 0.87 ppb.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, simazine, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of New Orleans tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include one pesticide classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen, four pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

In 1994, Corn Producers Used Approximately 140 Million Pounds of Herbicides Upstream of New Orleans

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 4,375,000 7,447,000
Alachlor 10,625,000 21,325,000
Atrazine 42,500,000 45,412,000
Cyanazine 13,125,000 27,689,000
Metolachlor 20,000,000 39,213,000
Simazine 625,000 972,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Omaha, Nebraska (Missouri River) Citizen Monitoring Results

Omaha, Nebraska receives its drinking water from two sources, both of which are contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that exceed federal health standards. Finished tap water originating in the Missouri River contains these weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards for at least one herbicide, and tests of city tap water originating in the Missouri River found six different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 25 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 83 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 3,000 infants in Omaha consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with multiple toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Nebraska corn growers at a rate of $453 million per year, for a ten year total of $4.53 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 12 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 2.90 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 0.85 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 83 percent of samples
  • Twenty-five percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 4.60 ppb, four and one half times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration --1.09 ppb, also above the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Omaha Missouri River tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Nebraska Corn Reached 17 Million Pounds in 1994, up 2.3 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 258,000 400,000
Alachlor 2,150,000 2,975,000
Atrazine 6,450,000 6,307,000
Cyanazine 1,634,000 2,664,000
Metolachlor 3,010,000 4,722,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)

 


Omaha, Nebraska (Platte River Wells) Citizen Monitoring Results

Omaha, Nebraska receives its drinking water from two sources, both of which are contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that exceed federal health standards. Finished tap water originating in the Missouri River contains these weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards for at least one herbicide, and tests of city tap water originating in the Missouri River found six different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 25 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 83 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 3,000 infants in Omaha consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with multiple toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Nebraska corn growers at a rate of $453 million per year, for a ten year total of $4.53 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 12 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 2.90 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 0.85 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 83 percent of samples
  • Twenty-five percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 4.60 ppb, four and one half times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration --1.09 ppb, also above the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Omaha Missouri River tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Nebraska Corn Reached 17 Million Pounds in 1994, up 2.3 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 258,000 400,000
Alachlor 2,150,000 2,975,000
Atrazine 6,450,000 6,307,000
Cyanazine 1,634,000 2,664,000
Metolachlor 3,010,000 4,722,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Richmond, Indiana Citizen Monitoring Results

Richmond drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that have exceeded federal health standards for at least two compounds. Tests of city tap water found up to five different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant was atrazine, which was found in 88 percent of tap water samples tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was found in 38 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 300 infants in Richmond consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with up to five toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Indiana corn growers at a rate of $278 million per year, for a ten year total of $2.78 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 88 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • 13 percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 4.50 ppb, one and one half times the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 1.10 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 38 percent of samples
  • 13 percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 3.00 ppb, three times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 0.54 ppb.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Five pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Richmond tap water collected on July 3, 1995.
  • These five pesticides or metabolites include one pesticide classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Indiana Corn Reached 18 Million Pounds in 1994, up 2.3 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 240,000 361,000
Alachlor 1,400,000 3,005,000
Atrazine 5,300,000 7,190,000
Cyanazine 1,159,000 2,487,000
Metolachlor 2,623,000 4,911,000
Simazine 122,000 130,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Springfield, Illinois Citizen Monitoring Results

Springfield drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards, even after carbon treatment. Tests of city tap water found four different toxic pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 27 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 800 infants in Springfield consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with up to four different weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Illinois corn growers at a rate of $607 million per year, for a ten year total of $6.07 billion. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 12 tap water samples
  • Nine percent of samples were above the federal health standard
  • Highest level found -- 4.10 ppb, above the federal health standard.
  • Average concentration -- 2.01 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of samples
  • Every sample was above the federal health advisory, even after carbon treatment.
  • Highest level found -- 4.20 ppb, more than four times the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 2.80 ppb, nearly three times the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Four pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, and metolachlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Springfield tap water collected on July 2, 1995.
  • These four pesticides or metabolites include three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and two pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Illinois Corn Reached 32.4 Million Pounds in 1994, up by 6 Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 580,000 973,000
Alachlor 1,972,000 5,041,000
Atrazine 9,628,000 11,345,000
Cyanazine 2,668,000 6,933,000
Metolachlor 3,712,000 7,713,000
Simazine 348,000 415,000

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)

 


St. Louis, Missouri Citizen Monitoring Results

St. Louis drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that have exceeded federal standards for at least one herbicide. Tests of city tap water found six different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 100 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 2,900 infants in St. Louis consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with six toxic weed killers. (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD)

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Missouri corn growers at a rate of $98 million per year, for a ten year total of $980 million. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 2.60 ppb.
  • Average concentration -- 1.67 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of samples
  • Nineteen percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 2.40 ppb, more than twice the federal health advisory.
  • Average concentration -- 0.83 ppb, approaching the federal health advisory.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of St. Louis tap water collected on June 24, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Missouri Corn Reached 6.1 Million Pounds in 1994, up One Million Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 0 0
Alachlor 432,000 679,000
Atrazine 1,992,000 2,729,000
Cyanazine 504,000 1,006,000
Metolachlor 888,000 1,700,000
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)


Topeka, Kansas Citizen Monitoring Results

Topeka drinking water is contaminated with cancer causing weed killers at levels that frequently exceed federal standards for at least one herbicide. Tests of city tap water found five different pesticides or metabolites in a single sample. The most common pesticide contaminant is atrazine, which was found in every tap water sample tested between May 15 and July 1, 1995. Cyanazine was also found in 63 percent of these same samples. During this test period approximately 8,000 infants in Topeka consumed infant formula reconstituted with water contaminated with five toxic weed killers (Note 1: Ershow, Abby G., and Cantor, Kenneth P. 1989. Total Water and Tapwater Intake in the United States: Population-Based Estimates of Quantities and Sources. Life Sciences Research Office; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, MD).

Most of these weed killers are used in corn production. Since 1985, taxpayers have subsidized Kansas corn growers at a rate of $84 million per year, for a ten year total of $840 million. Farmers in turn pay nothing to clean up the water. The pesticide industry claims that farmers' weed control cost would double if these polluting herbicides were banned. Assuming the industry claim is true, the added costs to farmers would amount to just 11 percent of the value of the subsidy taxpayers pay to these corn farmers each year.

Atrazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in female rats in repeated studies.(Note 2: Copley, Marion. 1989. Follow-up to the Third Peer Review of Atrazine. EPA. Washington, D.C.; International Agency for Research on Cancer. 1991. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evolution of Cancer Risk to Humans. Vol. 53.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. Federal health standard in drinking water -- 3 parts per billion (ppb), European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 100 percent of 16 tap water samples
  • Thirty-eight percent of samples were above the federal health advisory.
  • Highest level found -- 7.20 ppb, more than twice the federal standard
  • Average concentration -- 2.56 ppb.

Cyanazine

Causes mammary gland cancer in rats and birth defects in rats and rabbits in repeated studies. Causes genetic mutations. According to the EPA this makes cyanazine a potent carcinogen.(Note 3: Dykstra, William. 1991. Peer Review of Cyanazine (Bladex). EPA. Washington, D.C.) Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, required birth defects warning on the product label. Federal health guideline in drinking water -- 1 ppb. European Drinking Water Standard -- 0.1 ppb.

  • Found in 63 percent of tap water samples
  • Highest level found -- 0.44 ppb.
  • Average concentration --0.22 ppb.

Tests for Multiple Weed Killers

  • Six pesticides or metabolites -- atrazine, cyanazine, alachlor, metolachlor, acetochlor, and desethylatrazine -- were found in a single sample of Topeka tap water collected on June 2, 1995.
  • These six pesticides or metabolites include two pesticides classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens, three pesticides classified as possible human carcinogens, one pesticide that causes birth defects in animal studies, and three pesticides that disrupt the normal functioning of the hormone system.
  • Federal drinking water standards do not account for this simultaneous exposure to multiple pesticides (or other contaminants) in drinking water, and allow cancer risks from these weed killers up to 29 times higher than the federal government allows from the same chemicals in food.

Use of 6 Major Herbicides on Kansas Corn Reached 3.2 Million Pounds in 1993, up 578,000 Pounds Since 1990

Herbicide Acres Treated, 1994 Use, 1994 (lbs.)
Acetochlor 0 0
Alachlor 1,580,000 556,000
Atrazine 1,778,000 1,580,000
Cyanazine 219,200 378,000
Metolachlor 1,172,000 739,800
Simazine 0 0

(Note 4: USDA 1995. Agricultural Chemical Usage: 1994 Field Crops Summary.)

 

References: 

AWWA 1995. Comments on the Initiation of Special Review for Atrazine, Cyanazine, and Simazine. Submitted to EPA Office of Pesticides. Washington, DC.

Auerbach, Jan. 1995. EPA. Regulatory Reassessment: Final Summary and Rankings. Drinking Water Standards Division. Washington, DC. June 21.

Biradar, D.P. and A.L. Rayburn. 1995. Flow cytogenetic analysis of whole cell clastogenicity of herbicides found In groundwater. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 28. pp 13-17.

Browner, Carol. Letter to Emilio Bontempo, Ciba-Geigy Corporation. October 17, 1994. RE: Petition for reconsideration and administrative stay of drinking water regulations.

DuPont Agricultural Products. 1995. Response to EPA's Regulatory Reassessment Information Sheet. Total Triazines, and Cyanazine. Presented to EPA Office of Ground and Drinking Water. Washington, DC. May 3.

EPA. 1994. EPA Begins Special Review of Triazine Pesticides. Press Release. November 10. Washington, DC.

Flannery, Dennis. 1994. Chairman, State of Missouri Safe Drinking Water Commission. Letter to Mike Mansur, Kansas City Star. November 16.

Gloriod, Terry. 1991. President, Missouri River Public Water Supplies Association. Occurrence of Pesticides in the Missouri River Basin. Letter to William Reilly. September 19.

Goolsby, D.A., et al. 1993. Selected papers on agricultural chemicals in water resources of the mid-continental United States. United States Geological Survey Open File Report 93-418. Denver, CO.

Illinois EPA. 1994. Pesticide Compliance Monitoring Data. Division of Public Water Supplies. Springfield, IL.

Ohio Farm Bureau. Press materials following the release of Tap Water Blues. October 18. Columbus, OH.

University of Illinois. 1995. Further study needed to weigh risks linked to herbicide, scientist says. Press Release. Urbana-Champaign. August.

Wiles, Richard, Brian Cohen et al., 1994. Tap Water Blues: Herbicides In Drinking Water. Environmental Working Group. Washington, DC.

Key Issues: