By Stephanie Hemphill
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minneapolis, has reintroduced legislation to ban the controversial herbicide atrazine.
Farmers use atrazine to kill weeds, especially in corn fields. Surveys have found atrazine in surface and groundwater, and studies have shown it can cause fertility problems even at low levels.
In a news release, Ellison says the chemical “has only moderate agricultural benefits.”
Syngenta, the manufacturer of atrazine, says the chemical does not pose a threat to drinking water supplies, and recent research shows no adverse effects on frogs.
In 2010, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture conducted a special review of atrazine, and concluded no changes were needed in the rules governing its use. The agency says about one-quarter of Minnesota corn fields are treated with atrazine.
Atrazine is banned in Europe.
An earlier attempt to ban atrazine in the United States failed in Congress.