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Atrazine Concentration in New Mexico Community Water Systems: Annual Mean and Maximum Atrazine Concentration (Micrograms per Liter) by Year, 1999 to 2021

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Why Is This Important?

Atrazine is a man-made white, crystalline solid organic compound, which is not highly volatile, chemically reactive, or flammable. It dissolves in water; it does not bind tightly to soil and can leach into ground and surface waters (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/index.asp ). Atrazine is a widely used herbicide for control of broadleaf and grassy weeds (https://safewater.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/sections/202366538 ). It's one of the chloro-S-triazine herbicides, which act by inhibiting plant photosynthesis. Human health effects of exposure to environmental levels of atrazine are largely unknown. Atrazine does not bioaccumulate or build-up in the human body. Some metabolites of atrazine (particularly diaminochloroatrazine), may mediate some of its toxic effects (http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Atrazine_BiomonitoringSummary.html ). It is unknown whether or not atrazine can cross the placenta from a pregnant mother to a developing fetus or be secreted in breast milk. Some human studies (epidemiologic and ecologic) of birth defects (e.g., gastroschisis, hypospadias, increases in upper limb reductions and obstructive genitourinary defects), developmental and reproductive toxicity, and carcinogenicity, have shown both positive and no associations with exposure to atrazine. However, there are many limitations of these studies, mainly related to methods used to assess exposure, including the fact that the effects cannot be attributed to atrazine alone; this is primarily due to multiple chemicals or multiple pesticides exposures of the studied populations or ecologic and/or retrospective nature (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/index.asp; http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Atrazine_BiomonitoringSummary.html; http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol73/mono73-8.pdf; Davis JA; Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 73 (11): 926 (2005); Rocheleau et al., J Pediatr Urol 5: 17 (2009)). The most recent prospective population-based cohort study showed associations between urinary biomarkers of prenatal exposure to atrazine and adverse effects on fetal growth (specifically, birth weight, birth length and small head circumference (Chevrier et al., Environ Health Perspect 119: 1034 (2011)). Reproductive and developmental toxicity (including decreased body weight, myocardial muscle degeneration, liver toxicity, developmental ossification defects, impaired fertility, altered estrus cycles, increased pituitary weight, delayed onset of puberty, and reduced levels of luteinizing hormone, prolactin, and testosterone) are primary effects resulting from chronic, high levels exposure to atrazine in laboratory animals (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/index.asp; http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Atrazine_BiomonitoringSummary.html). Nevertheless, some of these effects are unlikely to occur in humans due to biological differences between humans and the studied animals. Atrazine product formulations can act as mild skin sensitizers and irritants. At acute, high level exposure, triazinic herbicides (such as atrazine) may induce fatigue, dizziness, nausea, irritation of the skin, eyes and respiratory tract, or allergic eczema, but these effects are unlikely to occur from drinking water environmental exposure. Atrazine is not mutagenic and it is not genotoxic. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that atrazine is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3) (http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol73/mono73-8.pdf) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified atrazine as unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans (http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/).

Definition

Atrazine concentrations (in micrograms of atrazine per liter of water or mcg/L) in community drinking water systems (CWS) are combined with information about each CWS (such as service population) to generate the following measures shown in this report: 1) statewide atrazine concentration distribution in CWSs by mean and maximum over time, 2) annual distribution of mean and maximum atrazine concentration for persons served by CWS and 3) annual distribution of mean and maximum atrazine concentration by CWS. EPHT data queries -- https://nmtracking.org/dataportal/query/selection/water/WaterSelection.html -- provide detailed results by year for 1) mean atrazine concentration by CWS for a select year, 2) maximum atrazine concentration by CWS for a select year, 3) mean atrazine concentration and the number of CWS by year, 4) maximum atrazine concentration and the number of CWS by year, 5) mean atrazine concentration and the number of persons served by year, 6) maximum atrazine concentration and the number of persons served by year, 7) quarterly distribution of number of CWS by mean atrazine concentration or 8) quarterly distribution by number of people served by mean atrazine concentration. Additionally, users may query the number of persons served and the number of CWS in the state for a select year. A CWS is a public water system (PWS) that serves year-round residents of a community, subdivision, or mobile home park that has at least 15 service connections or an average of at least 25 residents. These CWSs are a subset of all New Mexico PWSs. To measure atrazine concentration in CWS, drinking water samples are usually taken at entry points to the distribution system or representative sampling points after water treatment has occurred. Data Source: New Mexico Environment Department's Drinking Water Bureau, New Mexico Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). Measured atrazine concentrations in finished drinking water can be used to understand the distribution of potential atrazine exposure level for populations served by community water supplies. Due to potential errors in estimating service population, the measures may overestimate or underestimate the number of potentially affected people. These measures allow for comparison of potential atrazine exposure between the populations served by different water systems over time.

How the Measure is Calculated

  • Numerator:

    Concentration of atrazine.
  • Denominator:

    Not applicable

Health Topic Pages Related to: Community Water: Atrazine Concentration

Community Health Resources and Links





Medical literature can be queried at the PubMed website.

Indicator Data Last Updated On 04/13/2022, Published on 04/14/2022
Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau, Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 S. Saint Francis Drive, Suite 1304, Santa Fe, NM 87505, Srikanth Paladugu, Bureau Chief, Srikanth.Paladugu@state.nm.us, Stephanie Moraga-Mchaley, Environmental Epidemiologist Supervisor, Stephanie.Moraga-Mc@state.nm.us ,or Brian Woods, Environmental Epidemiologist, brian.woods@state.nm.us