Atrazine herbicide ban called for by Équiterre in Quebec
Classified as possibly carcinogenic, chemical is being re-evaluated by Health Canada
Quebec environmental group Équiterre wants the province to ban the sale and use of an herbicide called atrazine.
- A powerful herbicide is a friend to farmers, but may not be a friend to frogs
Health Canada lists atrazine as a common weed control agent, used mostly on corn and canola crops.
The government of Quebec has a duty to protect public health- Sidney Ribaux, executive director of Équiterre
The European Union banned the herbicide in 2003 over concerns of groundwater contamination.
"Atrazine is recognized as an endocrine disrupter, which means that it can have an effect on the hormonal balance of an organism," said Monique Boily, an adjunct professor in biological sciences at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
She said studies have suggested the herbicide causes tail malformations in tadpoles, delays their development and can turn male frogs into females.
"This is very worrying," Boily said in a statement released by Équiterre.
The environmental group has received more than 2,000 signatures on a petition to ban the herbicide in Quebec.
"The government of Quebec has a duty to protect public health and should ban this hazardous herbicide without further delay," said Sidney Ribaux, executive director of Équiterre.
The herbicide has been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans and is currently being re-evaluated by Health Canada.
Until the re-evaluation is complete, the maximum acceptable concentration of atrazine in drinking water is designated at 0.005 milligrams per litre.