Atrazine, an Endocrine-disrupting Herbicide Banned in Europe, Is Widely Used in the U.S.

Atrazine is the second-most widely used weed killer in the United States, with more than 70 million pounds are applied across the nation each year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It is an endocrine disruptor and also linked to various cancers, premature birth and birth defects.

The herbicide has been banned for use in the European Union since 2004. In the U.S., it is one of the most commonly reported contaminants in groundwater and public drinking water, according to the EPA.

While atrazine is applied to a wide range of crops, it is primarily used on sugarcane, soy, sorghum, and corn; the USDA notes that more than 65 percent of all corn crops in the U.S. have been treated with the herbicide. It is also a weed killer for golf courses, fields, and residential and commercial lawn spaces across the United States.

Atrazine is among the most prevalent herbicides used in Canada and Australia, as well.

The primary manufacturer of atrazine is Syngenta, a Swiss-based corporation owned by the Chinese state-owned company ChemChina.