Researchers have found that herbicide atrazine may mimic the hormone oestrogen and rouse human cancer cells.
Exposure to atrazine may be linked to increased rates of ovarian and breast cancer. This study led by Marcello Maggiolini of the University of Calabria in Rende in Italy, found atrazine could bind to a different oestrogen receptor, and hence rouse breast and ovarian cancer cells.
Atrazine has been banned in the EU in 2004, due to its ubiquitous and unavoidable groundwater contamination, and because there was not sufficient proof that the active chemical, and the substances that this chemical degrades into would not exceed a certain level in groundwater (0.1. μg/l). However, atrazine is still widely in use on crops in the US.
The study has been published in the Journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and is significant because it suggests a new mechanism by which atrazine stimulates cancer cells.
More information :
Science News. Atrazine’s path to cancer possibly clarified