Dear EPA: If atrazine causes cancer, we need to know.
It's been almost a year since EPA’s own Scientific Advisory Panel reprimanded the agency for lowballing the cancer risks of atrazine — including risks of childhood cancer. Yet no action has been taken. When we called EPA to find out what they are planning to do, they told us “We hope to update the website soon.”
According to the SAP, there is “strong” evidence linking atrazine to thyroid cancer, and “suggestive” evidence linking the chemical to ovarian, hairy-cell leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. On breast, prostate, and other childhood cancers, “there is inadequate evidence to determine” whether or not atrazine causes cancer. Looking at this same body of evidence, EPA somehow found that atrazine is “not likely to be carcinogenic.”
A year of no response while millions of Americans – especially Midwesterners – are exposed to atrazine through their drinking water on a daily basis is unacceptable. Please join us in urging EPA to take the current review of atrazine seriously, and to follow the science – wherever it may lead.
Our message to the agency is as simple as it has been consistent: follow the science.
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
Washington, DC 20460–0001
Dear Administrator Jackson,
We are writing to commend your agency for taking on a needed review of atrazine, and to urge you to follow the science wherever it may lead.
Last year, EPA’s independent Scientific Advisory Panel issued a report finding that the agency had misread the science and in so doing underestimated the cancer risks associated with atrazine. To date, your office has failed to respond and EPA’s website still says that atrazine is “unlikely” to cause cancer.
The panel made a clear recommendation that EPA correct its conclusion that “atrazine is unlikely to be carcinogenic” to “inadequate information to assess carcinogenic potential,” while noting that for thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer, hairy-cell leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, there is in fact “suggestive evidence” of atrazine’s carcinogenicity.
Simply put: “strong,” “suggestive” and “inadequate evidence to determine” are not the same thing as “unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans.” We rely upon the agency to rigorously attend to differences such as these, both as a matter of scientific integrity and as a matter of public health.
If atrazine causes cancer, we need to know that. And EPA needs to take action.