Thursday, February 7, 2013
Syngenta and Boonville, Missouri
From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: A huge shoutout to the village of Boonville, Missouri, on the check they've received from Syngenta AG for pollution of the city water system. Boonville and 88 other Missouri cities sued because Atrazine in the water was costing the citizens money. Altogether, our state gained $10 million in the suit. Atrazine is a farm chemical applied in the spring, our rainy season. It kills weeds but also washes into the creeks, river, clouds, oceans, ground water, and, of course, us. The cities that won the lawsuit were getting their drinking water from surface water--creeks and, in Boonville's case, the Missouri River. No one had done much investigation on atrazine, which has been used for decades, until 2002 when the Academy of Sciences found out that 0.1 part per billion could turn male frogs into hermaphrodites. A year later, Mizzou found the chemical contributed to poor semen quality in men. Then they found out it that along with reproductive problems, atrazine can create cardiovascular problems. Atrazine is cheap to produce and cheap to buy, which is why it is in such high use. But the side effects are expensive in terms of human health. This is the truth of most of these agricultural chemicals. We're getting them in our drinking water, and farm land (not to mention farmers) is being ruined for generations to come. The lawsuit against Syngenta is just the first step. These chemical producers and their stockholders should pay. And, in this case, they are paying. Justice at long last.