The Effects of Atrazine Application to the Environment.
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The Effects of Atrazine Application to the Environment. By: Perry Loken, Tim Weisbrod, Nick Taylor, Sara Schmidt. What is Atrazine?. Atrazine is a 6-carbon S-chlorotriazine. Atrazine is the most widely used S-triazine. Other S-triazines used as herbicides are Symazine and cyromazine.

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The Effects of Atrazine Application to the Environment.By: Perry Loken, Tim Weisbrod, Nick Taylor, Sara Schmidt


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What is Atrazine?

  • Atrazine is a 6-carbon S-chlorotriazine.

  • Atrazine is the most widely used S-triazine.

  • Other S-triazines used as herbicides are Symazine and cyromazine.

  • Atrazine is not very volatile, reactive or flammable but dissolves readily in water.


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How Atrazine is released into the environment.

  • Atrazine is a selective herbicide used primarily in the agriculture industry

  • Atrazine is primarily applied to corn, sorghum and sugar cane.

  • Atrazine is a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP).


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Amounts of Atrazine released into the environment.

  • In 1993 the total amount of atrazine used in the whole country was 35,000 tons.

  • Atrazine usage have been increasing steadily since the 1960’s to the current level of 70,000-90,000 tons per year.

  • Environmental levels of atrazine in countries that use it average 5ug/L



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How Atrazine Works

  • Atrazine was designed to block photosynthesis.

  • Crop plants are able to detoxify the atrazine.

  • Atrazine works well as both a pre- and post emergent herbicide.


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Why Atrazine may be a threat to the environment

  • The complete effects of Atrazine’s ability to block normal functions of plants and animals (expecially humans) is unknown.

  • Atrazine is being found in surface and drinking water reserves in areas of atrazine use

  • It takes considerable time to biodegrade out of the an aqueous system.

  • Because of our extensive reliance on herbicides.



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Atrazine in the soil

  • Degradation effects of Atrazine while it is in the soil.

    • Microbial degradation is the principle mechanism.

    • The kinetics is based on the nitrogen avalibility in the soil.


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Application history

  • Two types of fields

    • Adapted

      • Has had atrazine applied on a consistent basis.

    • Non-adapted

      • Has not had atrazine applied to the soil.


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Nitrogen rich soils

  • Nitrogen rich soils contain nitrogen molecules that are easier for the microbial to break down.

    • So Atrazine will be less likely attacked.

    • If nitrogen is deficient, then Atrazine would be a source of nitrogen for the microbial.


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Movement through the soil

  • Clay and silty soil

    • Movement is limited to soil layers of minimal depth.

      Sandy soil movement reaches depths greater than clay and silty soil.


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Atrazine in the air

  • Highest Concentration is in Summer, Lowest Concentration is in Winter

  • Remains in the air more in enclosed areas


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Atrazine run-off to surface water

  • In the spring Atrazine levels are highest.

  • Most of the Atrazine in the soil eventually runs off into surface water.

  • Once in surface water it can be transported long distances before it has time to degrade.


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Atrazine’s effect on animals

  • Once in surface water, atrazine is in direct contact with many species which drink or live in the water.

  • Atrazine does not bioaccumulate up the food chain.

  • The major effects of atrazine on animals are: Endocrine/Reproductive effects and Neurological effects


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Endocrine and Reproductive Effects

  • Atrazine disrupts pregnancy by inhibiting normal ovulatory surges.

  • Which include a release in luteinizing hormone (LH), Prolactin (PRL) and testosterone (in males).

  • Also atrazine has been known to cause detoxification problems.


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Nerveous system problems

  • Atrazine effects the Purkije cells of the nerveous system.

  • Cellular activity is lowered by 50% in 60 minutes.

  • The exact mechanism of this is unknown.

  • Atrazine causes motor disorders in animals.


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Human Exposure

  • 2-3 million people are exposed

  • 0.2 ppb exposed to in drinking water

  • Minimal amounts from food


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Chemical Affects

  • Atrazine has aromatic activities

    • Estrogen levels reduce

      • Underlying reason for hormonal disruption and tumor promoting properties


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The Future

  • Womb Exposure

    • Suffer permanent brain defects

  • Breast Feeding Exposure


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Children

  • Sonora, Mexico

  • Compared preschoolers that were exposed to Atrazine to the students that were not.

  • Differences is:

    • Hand-eye coordination

    • Metal and Physical skills


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Long Term Exposure

  • Increase Risk of Ovarian Cancer

  • Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

  • Increase Infertility

  • Increase Reproductive Disorder


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Modeling with Stella

  • Model Logic

  • Method to find Atrazine sink

  • Predict environmental degradation

  • Compare soil, Air, Water degradation

  • Interpretation of Stella



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Atrazine In Soil

  • Outflows

    • Biological Degradation, Half-life 42.5 days

    • Erosion, 55% immediately lost

    • Evaporation, Half-life 97 days

  • Inflows

    • Application of 34 million kg

    • Condensation from Air


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Atrazine In Air

  • Inflows

    • Evaporation, Half Life 97 days

    • initial applicationspraying

  • Outflows

    • Oxidation, Half life 0.11 Days

    • Photodegradation, Half life 0.796 days

    • Condensation

    • Take into account 30% of Earth land


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Atrazine In Water

  • Inflows

    • Erosion, 55%

    • Condensation, F(x) of Air

  • Outflows

    • Sedimentation, Half life 14 days

    • Aquatic Degradation, Half life 3.2 days

    • Ingestion



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Water as the Sink

  • Air is not:Degradation less than 1 day

  • Soil, initially a sink, long run NO

  • The Data suggest that water is the sink

    • the sink is draining, does not acumulate

    • Warning: decrease with one application after years steady increase


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Degradation Routes

  • Air initial spike degrades quickly

  • Water Spikes later and degrades slower

  • Soil initial spike but degrades out


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Future Projection

  • Projected to 2020

  • It can be seen that it would take until 2012 or 22 years to be nearly rid of Atrazine

  • Indicates steadily rising levels of ATR over time with yearly application


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Demonstration

  • Atrazine Movement Through the Environment

    • Begins with application, mainly crops


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Stella Agreement

  • Stella agrees with the literature in that atrazine does not persist relatively long in the environment

  • Stella is also in agreement in terms of water being the final sink.


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Demonstration

  • It then works its way to the water supply, by runoff and other mechaisms

  • then it follows tributaries and streams

  • Ends up in Large rivers, Lakes and Oceans


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Conclusions

  • Banning atrazine would decrease the environmental problem but could increase health and environmental risks.

  • Corn and Sorghum crop yields would be reduced.

  • The banning would increase the use of atrazine alternatives, which are less well understood.

  • A better plan might be to find alternative methods of crop management in order to get the best yeilds with the smallest amount of pesticides.