I wonder if this could be a reason why certain cancers are increasing in
certain areas of the U.S. more than other areas. I wonder if those
areas where the increases are occurring are receiving their drinking
water from surface waters or shallow aquifers, which may be more likely
to be contaminated with weed killers. Example, studies on laboratory
animals show an increase of breast tumors with the hormone disrupting
herbicide atrazine. Atrazine is widely used in the U.S. and some areas
of the country, such as Burlington, Vermont drinking water comes from
Lake Champlain. Could that be the reason breast cancer is so high
there? I realize that atrazine is also found in groundwater when that
water is tested for contamination.
I urge you to read the full article at the URL listed below.
[Archive: 3 April 1999]
The New Scientist
It's raining pesticides
Fred Pearce and Debora Mackenzie
**RAIN IS NOT what it used to be. A new study reveals that much of the
precipitation in Europe contains such high levels of dissolved
pesticides that it would be illegal to supply it as drinking water.
Studies in Switzerland have found that rain is laced with toxic levels
of atrazine, alachlor and
other commonly used crop sprays. "Drinking water standards are regularly
exceeded in rain," says Stephan Müller, a chemist at the Swiss Federal
Institute for Environmental Science and Technology in Dübendorf. The
chemicals appear to have evaporated from fields and become part of the
Both the European Union and Switzerland have set a limit of 100
nanograms for any particular pesticide in a litre of drinking water.
But, especially in the first minutes of a heavy storm, rain can contain
much more than that.
In a study to be published by Müller and his colleague Thomas Bucheli in
Analytical Chemistry this summer, one sample of rainwater contained
almost 4000 nanograms per litre of 2,4-dinitrophenol, a widely used
pesticide. Previously, the authors had shown that in rain samples taken
from 41 storms, nine contained more than 100 nanograms of atrazine per
litre, one of them around 900 nanograms...
Müller warns that the growing practice of using rainwater that falls
onto roofs to recharge underground water may be adding to the danger.
This water often contains dissolved herbicides that had been added to
roofing materials, such as bitumen sheets, to prevent vegetation
growing. He suggests that the first flush of rains should be diverted
into sewers to minimise the pollution of drinking water,
which is not usually treated to remove these herbicides and pesticides.
Meanwhile, Swedish researchers have linked pesticides to one of the most
rapidly increasing cancers in the Western world. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma,
which has risen by 73 per cent in the US since 1973, is probably caused
by several commonly used crop sprays, say the scientists...**
<Go to the above URL for the full article.>
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