A report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency June 21 concluded that the cumulative risks associated with triazine herbicides pose "no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other...consumers."
That's good news for farmers, especially in Illinois. Atrazine (a triazine compound) is the most commonly used herbicide by corn growers, favored for reducing erosion and runoff, as well as being cost-effective.
Atrazine also is the number one seasonal contaminant found in surface drinking supplies in the nation. It usually shows up in low levels in the spring and summer after farmers apply it to kill weeds rather than plowing weeds. The allowable level in drinking water is three parts per billion, a standard set by the U.S. EPA.
But six class action lawsuits against makers of these herbicides sit in Madison County court, brought by local class action lawyer Stephen Tillery and Texas toxic tort giant Baron & Budd, alleging that atrazine can cause cancer and reproductive problems in humans.