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Atrazine

6-Chloro-N-ethyl-N-isopropyl-1,3,5-triazinediyl-2,4-diamine, Residox, Primatol A

SPRI Emission Reporting Threshold
10.0 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Air
0.05 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Water
0.05 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Waste Water
1.00 Kg/yr Pollutant Emissions to Land
Disclaimer
This sheet is a generic summary, designed to give the reader a basic level of background information about the substance in question. Great care has been taken to represent as effectively and correctly as possible the broad range of (not necessarily consistent) information which is available from a variety of sources. The reader must accept therefore that this sheet has no legal status and cannot be relied upon in any legal proceedings. SEPA disclaims any responsibility or liability whatsoever for errors and omissions in this sheet.
What is it?
Pure Atrazine is found as white cystals. Under normal conditions, Atrazine is stable. It dissolves fairly well in water and organic (carbon-containing) solvents.
What is it used for?
Atrazine has been developed as a selective herbicide which works by interfering with plants' energy production processes. It is used to control weeds amongst crops and fruit trees and bushes and in forests. It has also been used to clear all plantlife from industrial sites.
Where does it come from?
The main sources of release of Atrazine are to soils and surface waters due to its application to land as a herbicide. There are not thought to be any natural sources of Atrazine to the environment.
How might it affect the environment?
Although virtually non-toxic to birds, Atrazine is very toxic to aquatic life. It accumulates only slightly in fish. Atrazine easily contaminates groundwaters and will persist in soils for up to a year. It is not considered likely that Atrazine pollution has any effects on the global environment.
How might exposure to it affect human health?
Atrazine exposure mainly occurs in the occupational setting, and can enter the body either by inhalation of air containing atrazine, by ingestion of contaminated water or food, or by dermal contact with water or soil contaminated with atrazine. Inhalation of air containing elevated levels of atrazine can cause respiratory tract irritation and pulmonary oedema. Ingestion of atrazine may cause gastrointestinal irritation, with nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Dermal contact with antimony may cause sensitisation and skin irritation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated antimony as being not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. However, exposure to antimony at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.
What steps are being taken to limit the potential impacts?
Atrazine is a UK Red List pollutant, signifying that its presence in the environment is of particular concern. Releases of Atrazine are controlled through the UK Pollution, Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations and the UK Surface Waters (Dangerous Substances) Regulations (SI 1997/2560). Atrazine is also regulated as a pesticide through the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA 1985) and the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR 1986). European Directives concerned with releases of Atrazine include that which controls pollution of the aquatic environment by dangerous substances (76/464/EEC) and it is also listed as a priority substance for action under the Water Framework Directive. At an international level, Atrazine is listed as a candidate substance for inclusion under the OSPAR and Helsinki Conventions which are concerned with the protection of the marine environment of the north-east Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea respectively.