Carcinogenic pesticides

Published: Saturday 31 December 1994

Three agricultural pesticides most widely used in the US will be reviewed for potential cancer risks by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Two of the pesticides -- atrazine and cyanazine -- are used on corn crops, while the third, simazine, is used on fruits and vegetables. Ciba-Geigy and DuPont are the principal producers of the chemicals. According to the EPA, the review "could result in use restrictions or even cancellation of the pesticides".

DuPont spokesperson Art Miller said that the company's studies showed that high levels of exposure to cyanazine in mice caused mammary tumours in a particular strain which has a naturally "high" rate of mammary cancer. However, a Ciba-Geigy spokesperson said that "no linkage" had been found between simazine and atrazine and breast cancer, even in rats.

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