Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions

When Industry’s Propaganda Becomes Laughable


I have been in this work long enough to know that industry tells lies.  Broadwater will save you money (really?).  The contaminated plume is not a health threat (until Volatile Organic Compounds are detected in the basement).  This product is safe for fish (oops).  Even though it’s not something new when industry lies, it still makes my blood boil when they produce blatantly erroneous propaganda.  This leads me to the toxic pesticide atrazine.

Atrazine is the one of the top 3 detected pesticides in Long Island’s groundwater.  It has been detected 124 times in 51 locations.  This toxin was banned in the European Union in 2004 because of its persistent groundwater contamination.  Atrazine is a weed killer that has been identified as an endocrine disruptor and a possible carcinogen. The chemical has also been linked to potential birth defects, low birth weights, and menstrual problems when consumed at concentrations BELOW federal standards.  What did we do in the US?  We made it our most widely used herbicide—applying 76 million pounds of it a year.

But according to the new propaganda piece, produced by the chemical industry, Atrazine “is not only safe, but actually protects clean water and saves land from cultivation.”  The website goes on to ask, “Can an herbicide actually protect our precious water resources, support wildlife habitat and benefit the environment? Yes it can!”

Now I’m intrigued.  An herbicide that has been scientifically linked to birth defects, low birth weights, and menstrual problems—is safe?  Science has also shown that this herbicide is a suspected teratogen—meaning it causes frogs to become sterile or turn into female frogs—YIKES!  Yet, according to the industry video, the herbicide is linked to bringing back the bald eagle, deer, coyote, and other wildlife.  Now, come on, did the industry really think the public was going to contribute the comeback of the bald eagle to a pesticide, when it was a pesticide (DDT) that caused the collapse of the bald eagle! As my uncle would say, “I was born at night, but not last night.”

The video goes on to claim that the leading water contaminate is good old fashioned dirt.  This dirt comes from farmers tilling the land.  By using atrazine farmers no longer need to till the land and the dirt stays on the farms, keeping water protected and returning nature back to its pristine state. Yes, and then the magic fairies come out, the unicorns run free, and everyone sings Kumbayah.

In 2012, CCE launched a massive campaign to ban atrazine from use on Long Island because it is one of the most detected pesticides found in our groundwater (yes, here on Long Island the number one contaminate is not dirt).  In spring of 2013, the massive public outcry pressured Makhteshim Agan of North America (MANA), Long Island’s main manufacturer of atrazine, to restrict the sale, use, and distribution of the toxic chemical on Long Island.  VICTORY!

So, I guess it’s not safe after all.  Oh yeah, and it will not lead to world peace.  Just saying.

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This entry was posted in Activism, Open Space and Wildlife, Public Health and Toxics, Water Protection and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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