INDIANAPOLIS - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering
a ban on a chemical pesticide scientists say is capable of turning one male
frog in ten into a female and is otherwise destructive to amphibians.
Atrazine, which is used primarily on corn and sugar cane crops, is the most
commonly-detected pesticide in American groundwater.
Dr. Kerry Kriger, founder and executive director of Save The Frogs, says
more than a half-million pounds of the chemical return to the earth each
year in rain and snow after it’s caught in the airstream following spraying.
“So, it’s in our rainwater, stream water, tap water. It’s sprayed on our
foods; so yes, we want a complete ban on it. There’s an abundant amount of
scientific literature showing its harmful effects on a variety of wildlife
Atrazine was banned in the European Union in 2004, but U.S. authorities say
the chemical is safe for consumers and allows three parts per billion in
The herbicide is widely used in Indiana by corn growers.
A UC Berkeley study concluded Atrazine is a likely contributor to worldwide
declines in populations of amphibians such as frogs and toads. As a result
of recent studies, the EPA is reviewing its regulations of the pesticide.
Kriger says the chemical has been linked to reproductive defects in fish,
cancer in laboratory rodents, and wreaks havoc on frog populations.
“It causes immunosuppression, hermaphroditism and even complete sex reversal
of male frogs at concentrations as low as 2.5 parts per billion, which is
below the legal limit.”
The California-based Save The Frogs group and other activists gathered at
the steps of the EPA’s headquarters in Washington earlier this year to raise
awareness of the disappearance of amphibians and to call for a federal ban
More information on Atrazine is at