Atrazine
water ripples
Atrazine is an herbicide widely used on a number of crops, but most regularly by corn and soybean farmers.
Atrazine typically enters surface waters, like rivers and lakes, after a late spring or early summer rainstorm or when agricultural irrigation water containing it drains into them.
Atrazine has recently been associated with causing imbalances in hormone levels in laboratory animals, possibly disrupting reproductive and developmental processes on a short-term basis. Following a 2002 risk assessment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that atrazine is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.
Contact your public water system to learn more about atrazine testing and results. You can usually find contact information for your public water system on your water bill.
If you get your drinking water from a private well, you should have your water tested by a certified laboratory regularly. Additional information about well water testing from EPA is available on their private drinking water well FAQ page.
In 1993, the use of atrazine to control vegetation on unused farmland was restricted to protect surface water resources. The EPA established a Maximum Contaminant Level for atrazine in 1991 at 3 ppb, with compliance based on an annual average of quarterly samples.
If you are concerned about atrazine in your drinking water, you may consider purchasing a home treatment device. However, in order to make a well-informed and cost-effective decision, consider:
  • Checking with your water system or consumer confidence report to learn about the amount of total atrazine in your water.
  • Identifying a device that has been independently certified to remove atrazine.
NSF International, the Water Quality Association, Underwriters Laboratories and CSA International all certify home treatment products for removal of contaminants. The relevant atrazine removal standard is NSF/ANSI Standard 53. If you choose to use a home treatment device, it is very important to follow the manufacturer's operation and maintenance instructions carefully in order to make sure the device works properly.