Thought this might interest some of you.
I must say I was surprised to learn there was such a thing (in Novartis's
mind, anyway) as an "atrazine-sensitive rat." I mean, are we to believe
that anytime there is a demonstrated correlation between exposure and
symptoms, that's evidence of "sensitivity," rather than evidence of
So by extension, does that mean that thousands of urban children die
because they're "pollution sensitive," my father died because he was
"asbestos sensitive," and JFK died because he was "ballistics sensitive"?
Well, that kinda makes sense from a Malthusian perspective: everyone knows
that "sensitive" people should get weeded out as unfit, right?
And thus any organism that manifests response to selection pressure doesn't
deserve to live anyway, because it's "sensitive"? Or is it that we now have
genetic engineering to take care of this--not by changing the stuff we put
in our environment, and reducing selection pressure that way...but by
engineering natural selection right out of the system!!!
And the scientists blame religious folks for not believing in evolution.
Report: Common herbicide likely causes
By Traci Watson
The most commonly used herbicide in the USA has been
upgraded from a
''possible'' to a ''likely'' carcinogen in a draft
report prepared by scientists
at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The report says there are indications that atrazine --
the weed killer of
choice for farmers growing corn, sorghum, citrus fruits
and other crops --
could cause uterine, prostate and breast cancer in
humans and may also
disrupt reproductive development.
Atrazine seeps easily into streams and groundwater and
from there gets
into drinking water, the main pathway for human exposure.
The EPA hasn't finished its review of how Americans are
atrazine, but ''it is clear that seasonal drinking
water contamination could
be widespread,'' the EPA's Steven Galson said.
A 1999 report by the Environmental Working Group, an
organization, said that atrazine taints the drinking
water supply for more
than 10 million Midwesterners and that treatments
rarely remove all traces
of the chemical.
The EPA presented its new report to an independent
scientific panel at a
meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Arlington, Va.
The session continues today, and the panel will comment
on the strength of
EPA's research in a few months.
An EPA decision on whether any action should be taken
to restrict the use
of atrazine is months, if not years, away.
Scientists from Novartis, the chemical's biggest
disputed the report and said the studies that the EPA
relied on apply only
Effective and relatively inexpensive, atrazine is
spread in fields and
orchards across the nation, especially during the
spring weed season.
No one disputes that atrazine causes mammary tumors in
a certain strain of
rat. Nor does anyone dispute that atrazine does its
dirty work in the rat by
attaching to sites on the hypothalamus, a part of the
brain involved in
regulating levels of sex hormones.
However, the two sides part company when it comes to
data to humans.
The strain of rat that was tested ''is uniquely
sensitive to atrazine,'' says
Novartis scientist Timothy Pastor.
The EPA, however, says humans are also likely to suffer
atrazine-related cancer because the herbicide affects
hormone levels, and
many human cancers are sensitive to hormone levels.
Novartis also says that it has done extensive tests on
rodents exposed to
atrazine in utero and found no abnormalities.
The EPA, however, says that the reproductive systems of
with atrazine develop abnormally. This could translate
in women to
delayed puberty and in men to prostate inflammation,
though there's no
direct evidence for these effects.
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