Atrazine: What is the safety limit?

Courtesy of Nebraska Corn

Anything can be a hazard at the wrong level.

A cup of coffee is fine. An injection of caffeine (or massive consumption) can send you into a paranoid delusional fit (or death). Oxalic acid in spinach is harmless in an amount someone would normally eat. But if you chow down on 10-20 pounds at once, your liver (and you) could be toast.

But how can you learn what the risk is for caffeine or oxalic acid? Or for another compound like the herbicide atrazine? When is it safe and when is it unsafe? Read the rest of this article on the Nebraska Corn Kernels blog.

Data on atrazine test results in water is available from EPA.

Additional background on agriculture and atrazine is available at

EPA Exposes Tyrone Hayes—Again! “Scientist” still has no science behind claims.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I represent family farmers- Kansas corn and grain sorghum producers. For more information on how important atrazine is to their livelihood, visit


    • Posted by Way of Life on October 25, 2010 at 4:57 AM

      The way I see it is would you really want your kids playing in a sandbox filled with sand you know to be toxic when eaten. You’ve even seen other animals exposed to the sand grow cancers and have reproductive issues. However you are quick to ignore this data and point out there are biological differences between humans and those animals, even though nearby animals that eat or drink from the sand are showing strange issues. You run more studies on the sand and after many studies you believe that it is only bad if you have too much at once. You focus on the fact that this sand is so much cheaper than other forms, and replacement would be expensive, possibly 30 an acre. And besides other people have been letting their kids play near the same sand since they synthetically created it 50 years ago. Ultimately if it were me in control of what sand is used in the sand box, I would choose to avoid any chance of risk, simply by avoiding exposure. It’s not worth it to me for my son to play in a sandbox even if a 20 grains in a box of billion are toxic, especially if we are drinking water that has been exposed to the sand. I’d rather find a way for him to enjoy life without a potentially toxic substance.

      Your example about risk = exposure * Toxicity is insane. Atrazine is synthetically made and was not around 50 years ago, so the effects to ecosystems are completely unknown on the scale we have been applying atrazine. Over 60 million pounds applied annually, and due to its mobile chemistry it can make it into nearby streams if the conditions are right, or it has been improperly applied.

      “Anything can be hazard at the wrong level”
      So true!!! Yet, somethings can be extremely hazardous, even at low levels. and even so some things are not hazardous even at high levels. However sometimes somethings also become more hazardous when combined with other hazards, often in many aquatic systems the reproductive issues are not just due to one chemical but caused by a combination of several that react to increase potency. The point is are you willing to risk yourself to a potential hazard? Or would you prefer to avoid a hazard all together and work towards alternative methods.


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