Skip navigation
B. A Popular Pesticide Linked to Reproductive Defects in Frogs

Narrator: This is Science Today. Scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency are recommending that the agency conduct more research on atrazine, a widely used pesticide that has been linked to causing sexual abnormalities in frog populations. Tyrone Hayes, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted previous studies on atrazine, suggesting that low-level exposures caused tadpoles to develop into frogs with both male and female reproductive organs.

Hayes: We are confident in the laboratory that atrazine induces the mixed-sex problem - the hermaphroditism that includes feminization and demasculinization. We have good correlative evidence in the field that animals that are exposed to atrazine also show this problem in real life.

Narrator: Atrazine is banned in seven European countries, but is widely used by farmers in the United States.

Hayes: It's the number one selling herbicide in the world and in the United States we use somewhere between 60 and 150 million pounds a year - there's virtually no atrazine-free environment.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.