The Swiss are known for their banking system, chocolate, “neutrality”, yodeling, Ovaltine, infant formula and chemicals. Syngenta, the Swiss based makers of the popular herbicide that contains the chemical atrazine, just settled a lawsuit in the United States filed by states and municipalities in the Midwest where the chemical has been found in public water systems. They sued to recover the costs of filtering the weed killer out of the water supply. Without admitting any wrongdoing, Syngenta settles for 105 million U.S.
Atrazine has been used the world over by farmers to kill weeds that harm crops. In the U.S., the herbicide has been used for years by corn farmers. Syngenta claims that there is no evidence that humans have been harmed by the chemical. Interestingly, atrazine is sold in 60 countries but has been banned by the European Union.
I just returned from Illinois and drank quite a bit of water from my sisters refrigerator, a refrigerator that generates 14 gallons of ice a day, and I must say, the water tasted fortified, with what I don’t know. I don’t think there are any corn fields in or near her small suburban Chicago town. I don’t think it is one of the municipalities in question, but the well-manicured lawns and gardens in the town clearly have benefited from herbicides, pesticides and chemically enhanced fertilizers. And the bag of carrots she bought at a local supermarket had the markings of genetic tampering.
Research indicates that atrazine causes reproductive distress in frogs and could cause birth defects in humans. I like corn, but if I were thinking of starting a family, I might think twice about drinking tap water or eating corn. And given my love for corn on the cob, corn dogs, cornbread and grits, this would be a near impossible sacrifice.