There is a very scary article in the Feb. 10, 2014 New Yorker, about a scientist (Tyrone Hayes) who discovered in the late 1990s that the herbicide atrazine, made by a company called Syngenta, grossly disrupts the hormonal systems of amphibians. Other researchers have since argued that groundwater contamination from atrazine poses a severe risk to the development of human fetuses and children, as well as to the health of adults.
The article is apparently free-for-view, rather than behind the magazine’s firewall. I urge you to check it out for yourself.
Atrazine was in fact banned in 2004 by the European Union for these potential health risks. Unsurprisingly, however, it is still the most widely used herbicide in the U.S. But the widespread use of such a damaging chemical, all in the name of profit, is not what scares and angers me. That is business as usual in our economy and we support it all the way to hell and back (although the “back” part is becoming increasingly unlikely) with our lifestyles. No, what scares and angers me is the perfectly legal, but morally unsupportable campaign waged for years against Tyrone Hayes, the scientist, in an attempt to discredit him by any means possible.