Researchers report that the common weedkiller atrazine may be able to disrupt hormonal signaling in humans. The herbicide is the second-most-applied weedkiller in the United States, with uses from suburban lawns to agricultural production of corn and sorghum.
In recent years, atrazine has been suspected of playing a role in sexual abnormalities in fish, frogs and other aquatic organisms. The chemical has been banned in Europe, but is still widely used in the U.S. Now, writing in the journal PLOS One, researchers report that the chemical appears to affect two different genes in human placental cells.
Holly Ingraham, professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California and one of the authors of the study, explains what the findings mean.