Environmental factors can have a significant impact on public health. The regulation and maintenance of our water supply system, for example, greatly affects the quality of our food and drinking resources. When groundwater supplies are contaminated with toxic organic chemicals, dangerously degraded water sources may also cause adverse effects to the surrounding soil, plant and animal life. This, in turn, poses challenging health risks to the human population who depend upon these resources for their daily sustenance and nourishment. Left untreated or under-regulated, polluted water supplies may lead not only to damaged ecosystems, but also to hormonal changes and other potentially harmful conditions in the local populace. One such threat to consider is: Atrazine-contaminated drinking-water in the U.S.
Atrazine is a low-cost agricultural herbicide, commonly used by American farmers and ranchers. Exposure to the organic compound has also, however, long been suspected as acting as a possible chemical-environmental trigger for select cases of breast and prostate cancers in humans and rodents, as well as birth defects and infertility in amphibians, namely frogs. As early as 2004, the E.U. effectively banned the use of Atrazine, altogether, after the water supplies of European countries were found to be contaminated with the endocrine-disrupting substance. But, this precautionary measure and preventative health effort has not been followed by the E.P.A., which still continues to allow the use of Atrazine in the U.S. It’s a bit bewildering, given newer findings recently published in the “Environmental Research” journal (http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2011/2011-1123atrazine-tied-to-menstrual-irregularities), which further suggest that Atrazine-contaminated drinking water in the nation’s Midwest states may additionally be connected to reports of low estrogen levels, delayed puberty, menstrual irregularities, and hormonal changes typically associated with increased risk for osteoporosis, diabetes, and even cancer, in the regional female population. Where “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, it seems clear to me that the price of human health and preservation should be more than worth the higher cost of safer weed killers.