Residents tested for pesticide Activists tell the state Board of Forestry that Triangle Lake residents’ urine samples came back positive The samples were tested by Dana Barr, a research professor at Emory University’s Environmental and Occupational Health Department.
“The data suggest these individuals are being exposed to these herbicides,” she said.
Barr, a former researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is considered an expert in assessing human exposure to a variety of toxic compounds. She found two powerful weed killers, 2,4-D and atrazine, in the urine of all 21 residents who submitted samples to her lab earlier this year.
Day Owen, for example, showed a 31 percent increase in the amount of 2,4-D and a 129 percent increase in the amount of atrazine in his urine between the first and second tests. His neighbor Eron King had a 54 percent increase in 2,4-D and a 163 percent increase in atrazine between the two tests. Her two sons also tested positive for the weed killers.
“Enough is enough,” she said as she opened a suitcase and pulled out books about the harmful effect of pesticides and passed them out to board members. “I don’t want these chemicals in my body.”
It had been previously thought that the human body quickly flushes such toxins out, but Barr said this new data supports growing evidence suggesting that fat tissue might actually store herbicides, meaning they clear more slowly from the body than previously thought. “A simple drift study would be useful,” Barr said. “How (the exposure) is occurring I’m not sure.”
The board also heard passionate remarks from private timber representatives, including Ted Rice a forester with Seneca Jones, who said the residents’ accusations were not backed up by science.
Atrazine has been shown to damage the body’s hormone system, Some research shows that in very low concentrations it has altered the biology of frogs, converting males into females, who can mate with other males but who only produce male offspring. In humans, some research suggests a link to prostate and breast cancer and infant mortality. Some evidence suggests that 2,4-D can cause cancer.