“I’m very concerned about the general population’s exposure to atrazine,” said Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. “We don’t really know what these chemicals do.”
In a statement released by the EPA, they denied the threat and attempted to reassure the public that American drinking water is safe. And though the agency is aware of new research suggesting risks, it will not formally review those studies until next year at the earliest. Federal scientists who have worked on atrazine say the agency has largely shifted its focus to other compounds. Syngenta, a Swiss-based agri-business company engaged in the crop protection and seeds businesses, manufactures atrazine. The company contributed over $400,000 in lobbying efforts for the first quarter of this year. On average, the agri-business contributes over over 8 million dollars annually in lobbying efforts.
According to a report by the New York Times, atrazine is just one example of Washington's failure to protect America’s drinking water. Health and environmental advocates as well as the government's own Government Accountability Office have criticized the E.P.A and lawmakers, arguing that the laws safeguarding drinking water and the policing of toxins are insufficient, and that the EPA is often too slow in evaluating emerging risks, not cautious enough and too unwilling to warn the public when health concerns arise. “At a minimum, pregnant women should have access to accurate information about what’s in their drinking water,” Dr. Birnbaum said.
Forty percent of the nation’s community water systems violated the Safe Drinking Water Act at least once last year, according to the Times analysis of E.P.A. data, and dozens of chemicals have been detected at unsafe levels in drinking water.
Other studies have shown that on average Americans have over 100 known deadly toxins in the cells of their bodies at any given time. The high chemical concentrations result from eating common everyday foods laced with pesticides and herbicides, using cosmetics and skin care products, consuming beverages and foods from plastic containers, as well as the off gassing from rugs, furniture, and dry cleaning products among other things.
"Our grandparents were not exposed to a fraction of the toxins we are," said Sarah Richards, owner of Homegrown Herb and Tea located online at http://www.homegrownherbandtea.com. Richards, who practices Ayurvedic Medicine in Portland, Maine, has noticed a large uptick in sales of Liver Toner and Digestive Cleanse - two organic teas designed to aide the body in purging toxins from the digestive track, liver and cells - since the concerns about atrazine were first made known. "People are starting wake up and realize that the reason they feel tired and lethargic, sick and generally down is because our bodies can't handle all these toxins."
She pointed out that even so-called "medicinal" herbal teas and natural supplements designed to promote health are contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins, siting a Notre Dame study that found toxic contaminates in over 30 percent of herbal supplements randomly surveyed. "At the end of the day," she said, "you need to know where your food is coming from, where your herbal tea is coming from, where the herbs in your supplements are coming from - where your drinking water is coming from. You can't trust the government and these huge conglomerates with your health."
Richards, who opened her organic herbal tea apothecary in 2006 sources all her herbs from local organic growers. Her site is located at http://homegrownherbandtea.com/
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Homegrown Herb and Tea is an herbal tea apothecary located in Portland, Maine and online at http://www.homegrowntea.com. We serve wellness tea, Ayurvedic teas and specialty teas.