Atrazine maker disputes defect findings

SEATTLE, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The makers of atrazine Friday disputed a University of Washington study linking the herbicide to higher rates of the birth defect gastroschisis.

"A large number of rigorous scientific animal studies have consistently shown that atrazine does not cause birth defects and does not cause reproductive effects," Syngenta Corp. said in statement.


Syngenta dismissed as "not credible" a study in Washington state that matched birth certificates against federal databases of agriculture spraying of atrazine, nitrates and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid.

The study found Gastroschisis occurred more frequently among infants whose mothers resided less than 15.5 miles from where fields and surface water had been sprayed with atrazine, Dr. Sarah Waller, one of the study's authors, said in a release. There was no link found between gastroschisis and the other chemicals studied, said the study presented Friday in Chicago to the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Gastroschisis is an abdominal wall defect in which the intestines, and sometimes other organs, develop outside the fetal abdomen.

Atrazine is banned in the European Union but allowed in the United States for weed suppression and as a corn herbicide in conservation tillage systems.


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