Atrazine is a Restricted Use Pesticide (may be purchased and used only by certified applicators) and is perhaps the most extensively used herbicides in the U.S. (e.g., corn, sugarcane and residential lawns).
Some animal studies indicate that atrazine may disrupt hormonal control of various maturational processes, but relevance to human health has not been established. A possible effect of human exposure on semen quality (concentration, morphology, motility) has been suggested.
Concerns about the potential hormonal effects of atrazine have led to its banning in Germany, France, Italy and Sweden (Rogers, 2003).
Atrazine is metabolized by N-dealkylation and conjugation. Cytochrome P450 1A2 is likely involved in both dealkylation steps. The major metabolite in urine is bi-dealkylated.
International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Atrazine.
Catenacci, G., Barbieri, F., Bersani, M., Ferioli, A., Cottica, D. and Maroni, M.: Biological monitoring of human exposure to atrazine. Toxicol. Lett. 69(2): 217-222, 1993.
Cooper, R.L., Stoker, T.E., Tyrey, L., Goldman, J.M. and McElroy, W.K.: Atrazine disrupts the hypothalamic control of pituitary-ovarian function. Toxicol. Sci. 53(2): 297-307, 2000.
Lang, D.H., Lettie, A.E. and Bocker, R.H.: Identification of enzymes involved in the metabolism of atrazine, terbuthylazine, ametryne, and terbutryne in human liver microsomes. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 10(9): 1037-1044, 1997.
Rogers, M.D.: Risk analysis under uncertainty, the Precautionary Principle, and the new EU chemicals strategy. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 37(3): 370-381, 2003.
Stoker, T.E., Guidici, D.L., Laws, S.C. and Cooper, R.L.: The effects of atrazine metabolites on puberty and thyroid function in the male Wistar rat. Toxicol. Sci. 67(2): 198-206, 2002.
Sullivan, K.B. and Spence, K.M.: Effects of sublethal concentrations of atrazine and nitrate on metamorphosis of the African clawed frog. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 22(3): 627-635, 2003.
Swan, S.H., et al.: Semen quality in relation to biomarkers of pesticide exposure. Environ. Health Perspect. 111(12): 1478-1484, 2003.
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