Keep Our Water Clean. Ban Atrazine!
"To allow the continued use and production of Atrazine, the EPA sets a dangerous precedent by condoning environmental destruction and implying that it is environmentally sound and ethical to dump poison on American soil -- and on Americans."
-- SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger
Atrazine is one of the world's most common pesticides: over 80 million pounds of it were used on American crops last year, and it has been in use for 50 years. This harmful pesticide is an endocrine disruptor that can turn male frogs into females at concentrations as low as 2.5 parts per billion. Atrazine causes cancer in laboratory mammals and developmental problems in fish. Atrazine is one of the most commonly detected pesticides in rainwater, groundwater and tapwater in the USA. Atrazine is used on corn, sugar, sorghum, yams, rice, christmas trees, and for lawn care.
Frogs and humans share half our DNA, so Atrazine can't be good for humans either. That's likely why the European Union banned the harmful pesticide in 2004. But the company that produces it, Syngenta (based in Switzerland!) has $11 billion in revenues, and has a huge lobby to keep Atrazine on the market in the USA. SAVE THE FROGS! needs your help to ensure Atrazine gets federally banned and out of production as soon as possible!
Sign this electronic petition to get Atrazine banned and help us get to 100,000 signatures! As of November 7th, 2013 we have delivered 27,947 signatures to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
"Scientific evidence in support of this action is compelling."
-- Dr. James Hanken, Professor of Zoology, Harvard University
On August 18th, 2013, SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and UC Berkeley professor Dr. Tyrone Hayes gave presentations to SAVE THE FROGS! Academy students on the harmful pesticide Atrazine and discussed ways that you can help us get it banned. Please watch the class video here, and be sure to share it with your friends, students and colleagues:
On June 12th, 2012 SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger gave a 25 minute presentation at the US Environmental Protection Agency's hearings on the effects of Atrazine on aquatic wildlife in Arlington, VA. Here is a PDF of Dr. Kriger's slideshow. Here is some text from the speech. And best of all, here is an mp3 of Dr. Kriger's speech (right-click to download). Or watch the video:
"Wow, Kerry, Just listened to your speech, fantastic! Effective, respectful, backed by scientific data, persuasive. I could go on. If that didn't persuade some people to reconsider, then I don't know what will. Awesome!" -- Save The Frogs Day Organizer Raina Mullen
"I've listened to your lecture you gave at the EPA twice, it really was
perfect!" -- Red Frog Member Debra Mahony
"CAN YOU HEAR ME CLAPPING!!!!! Awesome job! You knocked their socks off :) " -- Graphic Design Volunteer Alyson Lee
"Loved your presentation to the EPA! You go, Kerry! Let's ban Atrazine!!!! Everyone should listen to your presentation. And I loved your message to Syngenta and EPA employees in the conclusion of your presentation! Thank you so much for your passion!" -- John Griffith, Author of Totem Magic
On August 27th, 2013 the US EPA's Director of Office of Pesticide Programs Dr. Steven Bradbury sent SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger a letter denying our 2011 petition to ban Atrazine, which included 10,012 signatures (note: we are continuing to collect signatures!). Read the EPA's August 27th, 2013 letter to SAVE THE FROGS! here.
On September 4th, 2013 SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger responded to the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs with a letter detailing the government's flawed rationale and requesting a meeting with Director Steven Bradbury.
Read Dr. Kriger's September 4th, 2013 letter to the EPA here.
On November 7th, 2013 SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Krigermet with the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs, including Dr. Bradbury and six members of his staff in Arlington, VA. At the meeting, Dr. Kriger delivered the EPA an additional 17,935 petition signatures and asked the following questions (note the answers provided below are paraphrased):
(1) "Why hasn't Atrazine been banned?"
The EPA has yet to conclude it causes sufficient adverse effects on the environment. Atrazine is currently being reviewed by the EPA with a final decision expected in early 2016.
(2) Is EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy aware of the Atrazine issue?
She has not been briefed on the issue by the Office of Pesticide Programs.
(3) Does the EPA incorporate Dr. Tyrone Hayes' data into decision making?
(4) What type of data would result in an EPA decision to ban Atrazine?
The EPA claims they will base their decision on the best available science combined with an economic analysis.
(5) Precisely what role do economics hold in the EPA's decision to ban Atrazine?
Economics are considered when analyzing potential negative effects that could result from a ban.
(6) How can the EPA assure us our food is safe if the tests cannot detect atrazine on corn below 15ppm?
They apparently cannot assure us of this.
(7) Have any EPA members been informed they will lose their jobs if they ban Atrazine?
(8) Does EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy have the power to ban Atrazine with a signature?
(9) Will a representative of EPA take part in a public online Q&A?
No. The EPA claims their website holds all the information necessary for the public. However, the EPA did invite me to return in 2014 with several of our young supporters.
(10) Why does the EPA care to protect the products of a foreign company (e.g. Syngenta)?
It is not the EPA's duty to bias decisions based on a pesticide's country of origin.
(11) Does the EPA deny the European Union's findings regarding Atrazine?
The EPA does not deny the EU's findings. Unfortunately the EPA bans pesticides based not only on presence of pesticides at high quantities (which is sufficient in and of itself for an EU ban) but also on a finding of adverse effects; the EPA is currently assessing the adverse effects caused by Atrazine.
(12) Approximately how many meetings has the EPA had with pesticide or corn lobbyists regarding Atrazine since May 2011?
They did not give me a precise number but it sounded like ten or less.
(13) When is the next official call for public comments related to Atrazine?
In early 2015 the EPA is expected to release their draft recommendations for the future of Atrazine, at which time they will seek public comment.
Please read SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger's official comment to the EPA based on their 2013 Atrazine Call For Comments.
In the fall of 2011 the US Environmental Protection Agency sought public comments regarding a potential ban on Atrazine, one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. The EPA's call for comments was prompted by 10,012 petition signatures received from SAVE THE FROGS! supporters, and over 50,000 emails from supporters of the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The call for comments appeared in the September 14th, 2011 Federal Register, the official journal of the Government of the United States. View the Federal Register entry here. You can read SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger's Submission to the EPA here. Please also read this letter from Congressman Keith Ellison, which he sent to Administrator Lisa Jackson August 29, 2012.
We are currently awaiting the EPA's decision, but will not pause our campaign or let up the pressure on them.
Please download "Why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Should Place an Immediate Ban on the Use & Production of Atrazine", SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger's 2011 Submission to the EPA's Atrazine Call For Comments.
"That was a very well written and researched article. I certainly learned a lot and feel compelled to learn more. This article brings me back to my favorite sayings. "Every dollar spent is a vote cast for what kind of world we want to live in." I don't want a world with Atrazine. I will commit to buying organic fruits and vegetables. It's the right thing to do anyway. Thanks for writing this article."
-- John Griffith, California Conservation Corps
We've got you covered. Here is a sample comment you can modify and use as you wish.
Want to help get Atrazine banned? Great! Please click the image below to get a printable 8.5x11" PDF. Fill up a few sheets then send us in the completed sheets. You'll be spreading the word about SAVE THE FROGS!, while educating people about pesticides and helping us get to our goal of 100,000 signatures. Be sure to ask all signatories to write clearly and fill in every cell!
Want to help get Atrazine banned? Great! Please click the image below, then download, print and post the PDF at your school, in your office or around town. Thanks for helping spread the word!
We are certain that the EPA will ban Atrazine...but they will not do so until we have an educated, informed public whose voice is more powerful than that of the multi-billion dollar pesticide companies. These two-sided 4x6" info cards are a great way to help spread the word about Atrazine: order a set of cards here.
SAVE THE FROGS! is asking YOU to lead a Save The Frogs Day Atrazine Rally in your city's downtown area. It's easy: pick a place, set a time, inform the local authorities of your route, verify it is public land, promote your event, make signs or get some from us, then just show up, have a good time, talk to people about frogs, collect petition signatures, distribute flyers we can provide, and make people think about what's being sprayed on our food and dumped in our ecosystems. Want to be pro-active and lead a rally? Please let us know so we can coordinate.
Over 40 SAVE THE FROGS! supporters attended our rally at the steps of the US EPA in Washington, DC on the 3rd Annual Save The Frogs Day (April 29th, 2011). The rally was also attended by journalists from the Washington Post, WJLA-TV7, NPR-WAMU (88.5), DC IndyMedia, Environment & Energy Daily and other news outlets. The rally received notice from the US EPA, where SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger gave a 50-minute presentation on amphibian conservation and the problems associated with Atrazine the following week, on May 6th, 2011. You can read about Dr. Kriger's meeting with the EPA here.
Photos from the rally are on the Save The Frogs Day 2011 Page!
We were pleased to have the Washington Post, ABC-7 TV (WJLA), WAMU 88.5, Talk Media News, DC IndyMedia, Environment and Energy News, and other reporters at our Save The Frogs Day Rally in DC! Please watch this video about Atrazine and embed it on your website!
On May 6th, 2011 SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger gave a 50-minute presentation on amphibian conservation to 10 members of the EPA's Pesticide Division and officially delivered 10,012 petition signatures calling for a ban on Atrazine. Read about the meeting and the path that lies ahead in our Atrazine campaign.
This is a summary of the published findings of the Rohr Lab on the biological effects of Atrazine. Prepared by Dr. Jason Rohr. Literature Cited is at the bottom of this page.
The Rohr Lab has conducted several studies examining the effects of ecologically relevant concentrations of the herbicide atrazine on amphibians (Rohr et al. 2003, 2004, Rohr and Crumrine 2005, Rohr and Palmer 2005, Rohr et al. 2006, Rohr et al. 2008a, Rohr et al. 2008b). These amphibian studies show that atrazine can elevate locomotor activity (Rohr et al. 2003, 2004, Rohr and Crumrine 2005, Rohr and Palmer 2005), reduce antipredator behaviors (Rohr and Crumrine 2005), diminish growth rates (Rohr et al. 2004, Rohr and Crumrine 2005, Rohr et al. in review), alter development (Rohr et al. 2004, Rohr and Crumrine 2005, Rohr et al. in review), reduce survival (Rohr et al. 2004, Rohr et al. 2006, Rohr et al. 2008b, Rohr et al. in review), decrease cellular immunity (Rohr et al. 2008b), increase trematode infections (Rohr et al. 2008a, Rohr et al. 2008b), enhance desiccation risk (Rohr and Palmer 2005), and alter competitive interactions (Rohr and Crumrine 2005). Atrazine exposure, however, did not affect olfactory abilities of toads (Rohr et al. 2009) and occasionally did not increase mortality (Rohr et al. 2003, Rohr et al. 2008a, Rohr et al. 2009).
Some of the effects of atrazine on amphibians persisted well after exposure to the chemical ceased and thus could be permanent. For instance, elevated activity and reduced water conserving behaviors persisted for 238 days post-atrazine exposure and there was no evidence of recovery for these responses (Rohr and Palmer 2005). Atrazine also increased mortality risk for salamanders after atrazine exposure ceased (Rohr et al. 2006).
Enhanced mortality risk post-atrazine exposure might be due to the effects of atrazine on susceptibility and exposure to infections. Rohr and colleagues showed that atrazine can elevate periphyton (snail food) and snails, the latter of which is a taxon that can transmit trematode infections to amphibians (Rohr et al. 2008b). Furthermore, atrazine reduced the abundance of immune cells known to be important for controlling trematode infections (Rohr et al. 2008b). Consequently, in both field surveys and manipulative experiments, atrazine was associated with elevated amphibian trematode infections, which are known to cause debility and mortality (Rohr et al. 2008a, Rohr et al. 2008b).
A meta-analysis of the effects of atrazine on freshwater fish and amphibians revealed consistent effects of this chemical across studies (Rohr and McCoy 2010). Atrazine reduced size at or near metamorphosis in 15 of 17 studies and 14 of 14 species, elevated amphibian and fish activity in 12 of 13 studies, and reduced antipredator behaviors in 6 of 7 studies. Atrazine was associated with a reduction in 33 of 43 immune function end points and with an increase in 13 of 16 infection end points. Atrazine altered at least one aspect of gonadal morphology in 7 of 10 studies and consistently affected gonadal function, altering spermatogenesis in 2 of 2 studies and sex hormone concentrations in 6 of 7 studies (Rohr and McCoy 2010).
Members of the Rohr Lab have also documented errors and bias associated with reviews on the biological effects of atrazine that might affect policy and public perception about the chemical (Rohr and McCoy in press). Rohr and McCoy (in press) examined whether a review on the effects of atrazine on freshwater fish and amphibians, funded by the company that produces atrazine, represented the primary literature accurately. They report that this industry-funded review misrepresented more than 50 studies and included 122 inaccurate and 22 misleading statements. Of these inaccurate and misleading statements, 96.5 percent seem to benefit the makers of atrazine in that they support the safety of the chemical. Further, this review cast criticisms at 94% of the studies where atrazine had adverse effects, but only weakly criticized the 2.8% of studies where there were no effects of atrazine (Rohr and McCoy in press).
UC Berkeley's Dr. Tyrone Hayes discusses Atrazine on Living With Earth. Listen to the mp3 of the interview here (or right click to download).
Turn on your speakers and hit play!
Please embed this video on your webpage and link to http://savethefrogs.com/atrazine - Thanks!
If you live in the Midwest; downwind from the Midwest (i.e. the Mid-Atlantic States) or down the Mississippi River, you should be very concerned about the Atrazine usage in your part of the world.
Each year, about 80 million pounds of Atrazine are dumped on American soil. According to the National Corn Growers Association, American farmers use Atrazine on more than half of all corn acreage; on two-thirds of sorghum acreage; and up to 90 percent of sugar cane acreage in some states.
The Economics of Atrazine
Atrazine Disrupts Reproductive Development And Function Across Vertebrate Classes (Submission to the USEPA)
McCoy et al. 2008
Agriculture Alters Gonadal Form and Function in the Toad Bufo marinus
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Poisoning the Well: How the EPA is Ignoring Atrazine Contamination in Surface and Drinking Water in the Central United States
Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)
The Syngenta Corporation & Atrazine: The Cost to the Land, People & Democracy
National Institute of Health
Atrazine causes prostate inflammation in male rats and delays puberty
Kriger, K.M. 2011:
Why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Should Place an Immediate Ban on the Use & Production of Atrazine -- SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger's 2011 Submission to the EPA's Atrazine Call For Comments.
Cragin et al. 2011:
Atrazine causes menstrual cycle irregularities
Northwest Environmental Defense Center 2011:
Comment submitted to the US EPA regarding petition to ban Atrazine.
Rohr, J. R. and P. W. Crumrine. 2005. Effects of an herbicide and an insecticide on pond community structure and processes. Ecological Applications 15:1135-1147.
Rohr, J. R., A. A. Elskus, B. S. Shepherd, P. H. Crowley, T. M. McCarthy, J. H. Niedzwiecki, T. Sager, A. Sih, and B. D. Palmer. 2003. Lethal and sublethal effects of atrazine, carbaryl, endosulfan, and octylphenol on the streamside salamander, Ambystoma barbouri. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 22:2385-2392.
Rohr, J. R., A. A. Elskus, B. S. Shepherd, P. H. Crowley, T. M. McCarthy, J. H. Niedzwiecki, T. Sager, A. Sih, and B. D. Palmer. 2004. Multiple stressors and salamanders: Effects of an herbicide, food limitation, and hydroperiod. Ecological Applications 14:1028-1040.
Rohr, J. R. and K. A. McCoy. 2010. A qualitative meta-analysis reveals consistent effects of atrazine on freshwater fish and amphibians. Environmental Health Perspectives 18:20-32.
Rohr, J. R. and K. A. McCoy. in press. Preserving environmental health and scientific credibility: A practical guide to reducing conflicts of interest. Conservation Letters.
Rohr, J. R. and B. D. Palmer. 2005. Aquatic herbicide exposure increases salamander desiccation risk eight months later in a terrestrial environment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24:1253-1258.
Rohr, J. R., T. R. Raffel, S. K. Sessions, and P. J. Hudson. 2008a. Understanding the net effects of pesticides on amphibian trematode infections. Ecological Applications 18:1743-1753.
Rohr, J. R., T. Sager, T. M. Sesterhenn, and B. D. Palmer. 2006. Exposure, postexposure, and density-mediated effects of atrazine on amphibians: Breaking down net effects into their parts. Environmental Health Perspectives 114:46-50.
Rohr, J. R., A. M. Schotthoefer, T. R. Raffel, H. J. Carrick, N. Halstead, J. T. Hoverman, C. M. Johnson, L. B. Johnson, C. Lieske, M. D. Piwoni, P. K. Schoff, and V. R. Beasley. 2008b. Agrochemicals increase trematode infections in a declining amphibian species. Nature 455:1235-1239.
Rohr, J. R., T. M. Sesterhenn, and C. Stieha. in review. Will climate change reduce the effects of a pesticide on amphibians?: Partitioning effects on exposure and susceptibility. Global Change Biology.
Rohr, J. R., A. Swan, T. R. Raffel, and P. J. Hudson. 2009. Parasites, info-disruption, and the ecology of fear. Oecologia 159:447-454.
This fight will not be easy: the chemical's manufacturer Syngenta is the world's largest pesticide company. They have billions of dollars at stake, and they have a huge lobby in Washington. I have no doubt though that with your financial support we can spread the word about the horrible effects of Atrazine: how it turns male frogs into females, induces developmental problems in fish, and causes cancers in laboratory mammals. Once people are aware of the problems Atrazine causes, and the immense quantities of it that are used in the United States each year, the movement to ban Atrazine will be too powerful for even the world's largest pesticide company to stop. Please donate to support our efforts and get Atrazine banned!
"I really think the best shot for the amphibians is to really put effort into getting atrazine banned. It's a start that could snowball. Pesticides suppress immunity, making creatures susceptible to infection. Manmade chemicals are a major killer of all
life on earth." -- Terri Mitchell
"As a trained chemist and biologist, I hereby would like to join the request that atrazine, shown by a number of rigorous scientific studies to be extremely harmful to amphibians, be banned from all and any use, including recall of previously distributed atrazine."
-- Valerie C. Clark, Ph.D., Researcher, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Utah
Ain't that America.