A member of Congress is seeking to ban one of the nation’s most widely-used herbicides, which has turned up in drinking water in some states. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is for the second time proposing legislation that would outlaw any use or trade of atrazine.
Atrazine is most commonly sprayed on cornfields, and can run off into rivers and streams that supply drinking water. As the Huffington Post Investigative Fund reported in a series of articles last fall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to warn the public that the weed-killer had been found at levels above federal safety limits in drinking water in at least four states. A coalition of Midwestern communities — along with the nation’s largest private water utility — is suing atrazine’s manufacturer, Syngenta, seeking to have it pay to filter the chemical from public water.
Steven Goldman, spokesman for Syngenta, did not comment specifically on the proposed bill or on the prospect of a nationwide ban.
“What we can say is that three government agencies in Rep. Ellison’s home state of Minnesota determined in January of this year that ‘atrazine regulations protect human health and the environment in Minnesota,'” he said.